Enfilade

Early Modern French Studies 40 (2018)

Posted in journal articles by Editor on June 24, 2018

Three of the articles focus specifically on the eighteenth century:

Early Modern French Studies 40 (2018)
Anticipated Afterlives: Envisaging Posterity in Early Modern France

• Oliver Wunsch, “Diderot and the Materiality of Posterity,” 63–78.
• John Leigh, “Posterity and Progeny: Memoirs and Autobiographical Writing in the Late Eighteenth Century,” 79–92.
• Olivier Ritz, “La Postérité Littéraire à l’Epreuve de la Révolution,” 93–101.

An excerpt from Jessica Goodman’s introduction to the issue:

Much work has been done on the questions of reception history, literary influence, commemoration, and life writing. Rather than treading over the same ground, however, this volume, in a self-reflexive twist, addresses what we have called ‘anticipated afterlives’: the different ways in which early modern individuals are aware that they stand to ‘live on’ in some sense after their biological death, and how they attempt to manage this transition to posterity. This focus on the ‘before’ of anticipation rather than the ‘after’ of posthumous reputation derives from the idea that posterity, in its purest sense, can only ever be anticipated. It is almost always a projection into an unknown future, a continually receding vanishing point. The individual, standing Janus-like between a lived but disappearing past, and a future that retreats as he approaches it attempts nonetheless to fix a version of that past (whether his own, or that of another) for those to come, whose interpretations he can only guess at.

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