Revenant Lovers

Timothy Chesters

in Ghost Stories in Late Renaissance France

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599806
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191723537 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Revenant Lovers

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This chapter considers another possibility raised by return in the body: sexual congress with the dead. The first section examines the very limited corpus of ghost narratives in which divinely sanctioned apparitions are imbued with material form: these ‘resurrections’ are mainly played out in Middle Eastern contexts, their purpose the conversion of the Turk. The next section examines cases in which demons take up bodies. Set under the mythological banner of Orpheus and Eurydice, these stories frequently involve an eroticised return of a woman to her lover, with sex contact between them the prelude to a catastrophic, second loss. Having explored two examples in Le Loyer and François de Rosset, the chapter ends with a pamphlet in which the roles are reversed, and an embodied husband returns to his widow. This story, which bears certain similarities with the return of Martin Guerre, exploits to the full the titillating charge of revenant lovers.

Keywords: Turk; Le Loyer; Phlegon; embodied ghosts; necrophilia; eroticism; female body; secrets; discretion; Martin Guerre

Chapter.  19990 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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