Universitatea „Babeș-Bolyai” din Cluj Napoca, Facultatea de Litere / Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, Faculty of Letters
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Without Corpus Delicti: Reflections on Contemporary Eschatological Tmes
Starting from Žižek’s statement that we are living in the end times, this article aims to analyse the eschatological character of the end of the 20th century – beginning of the 21st century, making a comparison with another historical period that was thinking of itself in eschatological terms: the beginning of the 20th century. If we take a look at the last 60-70 years, we discover a series of famous deaths which marked the shift from agonizing modernity to jovial postmodernity and shaped the way we think and act in the contemporary world: The End of Ideologies (1960, Daniel Bell), The Death of the Man (1966, Michel Foucault), The Death of the Author (1967, Roland Barthes), The End of History (1989, Francis Fukuyama), The Death of Comparative Literature (2003, Gayatri Spivak) etc. What’s interesting is that none of these cases have a corpus delicti, the dead body – a finding which opens at least two interpretive tracks. First, the absence of the corpse takes death out of the implacable, emphasizing instead a death-life continuum, in which dead, outdated elements happily coexists with living, new elements. Thus, death is no longer seen as a categorical, definitive act, but as a fertile, liberating metamorphosis (as happens in posthumanism, in nonhuman turn etc.). Secondly, this absence means the disappearing of all the anxieties the corpse has traditionally caused. Therefore, it marks the shift from a society of negativity and prohibitions to a society of enjoyment and positivity. This happy (postmodern) society is a postmortem society.
Keywords: eschatology, corpus delicti, corpse, death-life continuum, posthumanism, nonhuman turn, postmodernity, society of enjoyment, postmortem society.
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