How to Do Things with Dead People: History, Technology, and Temporality from Shakespeare to Warhol (Hardcover)
How to Do Things with Dead People studies human contrivances for representing and relating to the dead. Alice Dailey takes as her principal objects of inquiry Shakespeare's English history plays, describing them as reproductive mechanisms by which living replicas of dead historical figures are regenerated in the present and re-killed. Considering the plays in these terms exposes their affinity with a transhistorical array of technologies for producing, reproducing, and interacting with dead things--technologies such as literary doppelg ngers, photography, ventriloquist puppetry, X-ray imaging, glitch art, capital punishment machines, and cloning.
By situating Shakespeare's historical drama in this intermedial conversation, Dailey challenges conventional assumptions about what constitutes the context of a work of art and contests foundational models of linear temporality that inform long-standing conceptions of historical periodization and teleological order. Working from an eclectic body of theories, pictures, and machines that transcend time and media, Dailey composes a searching exploration of how the living use the dead to think back and look forward, to rule, to love, to wish and create.