It's standard for scholars in the humanities to write about the contents of a book in the present tense, but write about the factual details of the book or author in the past tense. My question has to do with using the literary present to speak about what a book says and in the same sentence write about an event that happened prior to the author writing the book.
So, take, for example, the following sentence written in the past tense:
In his book, the author lamented the loss of the individual who had once been his closest friend.
When you write this sentence in literary present, does it become:
- In his book, the author laments the loss of the individual who had once been his closest friend.
- In his book, the author laments the loss of the individual who was once his closest friend.
In the first example, only the past tense "lamented" is converted to literary present, while the past perfect "had once been" remains the same. The problem here is that I was taught the past perfect is only used with the past tense. However, even in literary present, it's understood that "laments" refers to an action in the past. So, are both sentences grammatical?
Off the bat, neither of them strikes me as unnatural sounding, and both seem clear.
I dug up this example from Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, which seems to match 1). And who am I to challenge Russell's grammar?
In this passage Hobbes shows an old-fashioned rationalism. Kepler had arrived at a general proposition.