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.
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