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A Communion of ShadowsReligion and Photography in Nineteenth-Century America$
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Rachel McBride Lindsey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633725

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633725.001.0001

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Here Is My Name When I Am Dead

Here Is My Name When I Am Dead

(p.64) Two Here Is My Name When I Am Dead
A Communion of Shadows

Rachel McBride Lindsey

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores death and mourning pictures within a shifting memorial culture that was rooted in historical modes of representation and theologies of redemption. Over the course of the nineteenth century, photographic portraiture emerged within this memorial culture as both the preferred iconography of mourning in nineteenth-century America and, significantly, as a relic of the departed that disclosed future glory to the bereaved. In this chapter, I explore the role of photographs as relics that illuminated the communion of shadows by mediating the body of the deceased with the grieving body of the bereaved. Here, photographs were devised not as tokens of the moldering body of the deceased but of promise of celestial reunion in glory. As memorial portraiture focused attention on the body of the deceased, another facet within the communion of shadows purported to provide evidence of the soul’s survival after death.

Keywords:   Mourning culture, Visual representation, Post-mortem photography, Iconography, Relics

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