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Defaming the Dead$
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Don Herzog

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300221541

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300221541.001.0001

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Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil

(p.68) III Speak No Evil
Defaming the Dead

Don Herzog

Yale University Press

The chapter opens with a recent obituary that went viral, in which a daughter bitterly indicted her deceased mother for cruelty and child abuse. It goes on to explore the history of the view that we should speak no ill of the dead, and zeroes in on Julian Hawthorne’s decision to publish pages from his deceased father Nathaniel’s journal cruelly mocking deceased Margaret Fuller. And it notes that that view seems not to depend on whether the claims against the dead are true or false, a distinction central in the law of defamation.

Keywords:   obituary, de mortuis nil nisi bonum, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller

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