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Death and the Other

Death and the Other

An Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Death and the Other
Source:
Death in Babylon
Author(s):
Vincent Barletta
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226037394.003.0001

This chapter is concerned with developing a phenomenological or, more generally, a pragmatic or interactional understanding of Alexander as a symbolic tool by which late medieval and early modern authors, scribes, and readers from the three principal kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula reckoned with empire. The argument, simply put, is that Alexander was both a trope for empire and a trigger for the theorization of deeper, more immediate accounts of human beings at a pivotal moment in world history. To gain an adequately contextualized understanding of that moment, it will be necessary to move beyond traditional modes of literary analysis and investigate the ways in which human agents have made use of written texts to shape and theorize both the social world and those structures that underlie it.

Keywords:   world history, Alexander, modern authors, literary analysis, social world, methodology

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