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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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Love after Death in the Protestant Church

Love after Death in the Protestant Church

(p.29) 1 Love after Death in the Protestant Church
Posthumous Love

Ramie Targoff

University of Chicago Press

This chapter reviews Protestant attitudes toward posthumous love. In Christian scripture and traditional English liturgy, walls were erected between earthly marriage and erotic ties in the afterlife, and these walls were on the whole fortified by Protestant theologians. Renaissance English sermons and treatises on marriage, however, were deeply inconsistent about what possibilities might exist for love after death, and English preachers were often quite inventive in finding reasons to hope for some kind of posthumous reunion. These questions relate to Protestant attitudes toward companionate marriage: prescriptions for a certain kind of intimacy within this mortal world affected expectations for erotic continuity beyond the grave. It was out of this complex web of scriptural, liturgical, theological, and social injunctions about the nature and limits of love that English poetry began to shape a new literary mode.

Keywords:   Protestantism, marriage, companionship, posthumous, love, English liturgy

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