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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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(p.211) 14 Rabelais
Death and Tenses

Neil Kenny

Oxford University Press

Part IV explores how many of the contexts and strands of tense-use for the dead that have been explored separately so far were combined in practice by two of the greatest vernacular prose writers of the European Renaissance. The first is François Rabelais. This chapter starts by outlining the general economy of tenses with which the dead are referred to in his fictional chronicles. Then, two sequences of Rabelais’s chapters are analysed in detail. Each stretches and tests that economy of tenses in particularly intense ways in order to explore posthumous survival or non-survival. The first sequence is Chapters 3–8 of Pantagruel (1532); the second is Chapters 17–28 of the Quart livre (1552).

Keywords:   Pantagruel, posthumous presence, Quart livre, François Rabelais, tense

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