Chapter

Introduction

Jürgen Pieters

in Speaking With the Dead

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748615889
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652020 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615889.003.0001
Introduction

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This book began with the persistent echo of a justly famous opening sentence by Stephen Greenblatt. This is: ‘I began with the desire to speak with the dead’. Ten simple words, joined together in a rhythm that has the fluency of Shakespearean verse but the metre of a classical French alexandrin. This book illustrates how Greenblatt's conversation with the dead is related to others' use of the concept – Machiavelli and Michelet being his most probable direct sources. The dead speak by means of traces that are the direct product of the very voice which first gave them shape. Greenblatt introduced another concept closely related to his desire to converse with the dead: social energy.

Keywords: Stephen Greenblatt; dead; Shakespearean verse; alexandrin; Machiavelli; Michelet; social energy

Chapter.  4978 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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