Abstract

This essay considers the exoskeleton as a metaphor with which to understand the untimely duration of the past within the present, and in a fashion somewhat different from Jacques Derrida's "hauntology," which persists in figuring the past as a dead revenant that haunts the present. Building on Manuel de Landa's and Fredric Jameson's rather different uses of the metaphor, the essay offers close readings of both Byblos, an archaeological site in Lebanon, and Shakespeare's poem Venus and Adonis as exemplary exoskeletal narratives in which the past has agency within the present. In the process, the exoskeleton also allows us to retheorize "context" as more than simply synchronic or temporally coterminous "outside" to the inside: it is, rather, a polychronic assemblage in which the past is very much alive.

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