By Jeremy Tambling
Set opposed to a backdrop of debates concerning the so-called 'end of history', 'the demise of the topic' and 'the finish of art', in addition to a number of the kinds of the 'post' that grew to become widely used within the past due 20th century, Jeremy Tambling introduces the assumption of 'the posthumous' as a way of puzzling over our dating to the prior, to dying and to history.The trope of the posthumous is performed out in a trend of 4 deftly argued 'case-chapters' dedicated to Shakespeare's Cymbeline (where the hero is Posthumus), Dickens's David Copperfield (a 'posthumous child'), Nietzsche's Ecce Homo (the list of a posthumous existence) and Benjamin's 'Theses at the Philosophy of heritage' (where heritage comes into being posthumously). utilizing those texts as a launching element Professor Tambling presents readings keen on the query of why we should always focus on historical past, and to earlier texts, if there was an irretrievable 'break' with heritage, and the place heritage has become the historical past industry.Discussing
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Extra resources for Becoming Posthumous: Life and Death in Literary and Cultural Studies
If past and present are caught up in the mutuality of the posthumous, is the past/present distinction workable? Which is living? Can we talk about texts of the past? Is it worth taking our present as posthumous, rather than as ‘present’? What follows in the next four parts addresses these questions through examples of the posthumous, beginning with it as an allegorical name, Posthumus, whose signiﬁcance spreads till it touches every part of Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline. The Latin ‘postumus’, which means ‘last, late born’ in sixteenth-century English, became ‘posthumous’ in spelling in order to create an etymology which would derive from ‘humus’, earth, or from 23 469dtxt 20/1/03 2:53 pm Page 24 Becoming Posthumous ‘humare’, to bury: as if a change in spelling was needed to give the word dignity, or as if a word describing a condition which has no authority needed something extra.
She had allowed a trunk to be put in the room, because she associated the trunk with her husband – it contained, she was told, treasures he had collected. The trunk evokes her husband’s body as a linguistic pun. Since the First Gentleman had already said of Posthumus ‘I cannot delve him to the root’, the husband’s body is already being seen like a treetrunk, but the pun intensiﬁes when a man climbs out of the trunk – Iachimo, whom her husband, Posthumus, had allowed to spy on her, to check on her faithfulness.
Robert Musil, ‘Art Anniversary’, Posthumous Papers of a Living Author, trans. Peter Worstman (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995), pp. 79–80. This was his last completed work to appear in his lifetime. For Musil’s relation to the posthumous, as it affects the novel he was working on from 1921 till his death in 1942, and parts of which appeared in 1930 and 1933, see the discussion by Burton Pike in Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike’s translation of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften – The Man Without Qualities, 2 vols (London: Picador, 1995).
Becoming Posthumous: Life and Death in Literary and Cultural Studies by Jeremy Tambling