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Posthumous LoveEros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England$
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Ramie Targoff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226789590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226110462.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2020

Burying Love

Burying Love

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Burying Love
Source:
Posthumous Love
Author(s):

Ramie Targoff

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226110462.003.0001

The clearest historical traces of lovers’ attitudes toward the afterlife are the epitaphs left on tombs. This chapter surveys an archive of surviving sixteenth and seventeenth century epitaphs for husbands and wives and lovers, here imagined as filling a single Renaissance English church. Historians have generally represented Protestant tombs as strictly commemorative in nature, preserving the memory of the deceased for their survivors. What the effigies on joint tombs reveal, however, is a widespread desire for some type of shared afterlife. The vision these inscriptions project for the future was by no means uniform or coherent—they alternated, in fact, between somewhat predictable hopes for a heavenly reunion of souls, and less predictable, materialist hopes simply to lie together in the ground. Whether the inscriptions look forward to a subterranean or celestial reunion, what connects them is something that scholarship of Renaissance England has almost entirely ignored: the persistent desire for posthumous intimacy.

Keywords:   epitaphs, spousal tombs, afterlife, posthumous, Protestantism, Church of England

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