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Death and TensesPosthumous Presence in Early Modern France$
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Neil Kenny

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754039

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754039.001.0001

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Inescapable Tense

(p.1) Introduction
Death and Tenses

Neil Kenny

Oxford University Press

The question of which tense, if any, can be used to refer to the dead has a long history, from antiquity to the present day. This book’s aim is outlined: to focus mainly on one episode within that long history—early modern France from the early sixteenth to the early seventeenth century—while situating that episode within a broader chronological framework. The Introduction explains why present-day tense-use will also need to be considered: in particular, because it is difficult to make any sense of past texts and their tense-forms without being drawn into their deictic centre when one reads or analyses them, necessarily using tenses to do so.

Keywords:   Cicero, deictic centre, posthumous survival, tense, Zumthor

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