Like all poets, inspired by death, Lynch is, unlike others, also hired to bury the dead or cremate them and to tend to their families in a small Michigan town where he serves as the funeral director. In the conduct of these duties he has kept his eyes open, his ears tuned to the indispensable vernaculars of love and grief. In these twelve essays is the voice of both witness and functionary. Lynch stands between 'the living and the living who have dies' with the same outrage and amazement, straining for the same glimpse we all get of what mortality means to a vital species. So here is homage to parents who have died and to children who shouldn't have. Here are golfers tripping over grave-markers, gourmands and hypochondriacs, lovers and suicides. These are essays of rare elegance and grace, full of fierce compassion and rich in humour and humanity - lessons taught to the living by the dead.
A Michigan poet, funeral director, and American Book Award-winning author of The Undertaking continues his quirky observations on the relations between the literary and mortuary arts, in a collection of illuminating essays and observations on life, death, and creative expression. Reprint.
In this wide-reaching abecedarium, doctor and poet Iain Bamforth dissects the conflict of values embodied in what we call medicine—never entirely a science and no longer quite the art it used to be. Bamforth brings to bear his experience of medicine from around the world, from the hightech American Hospital of Paris to community health centres of Papua, along with his engaging interest in the stranger manifestations of medical matters in relation to art, literature and culture. Drawing on the lives and ideas of some of Europe's most celebrated writers, from Auden to Zola with stop-offs at the likes of Darwin, Kafka, Orwell, Proustand Weil along the way, Bamforth offers insightful and witty diagnoses of the culture of medicine in the modern age.
Memoirs, autobiographies, and diaries represent the most personal and most intimate of genres, as well as one of the most abundant and popular. Gain new understanding and better serve your readers with this detailed genre guide to nearly 700 titles that also includes notes on more than 2,800 read-alike and other related titles. * A list of subjects and suggested "read-alikes" accompany each title * Appendixes cover awards, websites, and resources * Detailed indexes provide further points of access
From one of our most gifted writers and thinkers about death and the meaning of living comes a collection of writings about "what comes next." Thomas Lynch, funeral director, poet, and author of the National Book Award finalist The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, has an uncanny knack for writing about death in ways that are never morbid, always thoughtful, often humorous, and quite moving. From his account of riding in the hearse at the funeral of poet laureate Seamus Heaney, to his recounting of the funeral for a young child in the 1800s, to his compelling essay about his own mortality, Lynch always finds ways to make sense of senseless things, as he ponders what will come next.
Beginning with an analysis of cultural themes and ending with a discussion of evolving and expanding political and corporate institutions, The Columbia History of Post-World War II America addresses changes in America's response to the outside world; the merging of psychological states and social patterns in memorial culture, scandal culture, and consumer culture; the intersection of social practices and governmental policies; the effect of technological change on society and politics; and the intersection of changing belief systems and technological development, among other issues. Many had feared that Orwellian institutions would crush the individual in the postwar era, but a major theme of this book is the persistence of individuality and diversity. Trends toward institutional bigness and standardization have coexisted with and sometimes have given rise to a countervailing pattern of individualized expression and consumption. Today Americans are exposed to more kinds of images and music, choose from an infinite variety of products, and have a wide range of options in terms of social and sexual arrangements. In short, they enjoy more ways to express their individuality despite the ascendancy of immense global corporations, and this volume imaginatively explores every facet of this unique American experience.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 'Unforgettable . . . a hilarious, poignant and impassioned plea to revolutionise our attitudes to death' Gavin Francis, Guardian From her first day at Westwind Cremation & Burial, twenty-three-year-old Caitlin Doughty threw herself into her curious new profession. Coming face-to-face with the very thing we go to great lengths to avoid thinking about she started to wonder about the lives of those she cremated and the mourning families they left behind, and found herself confounded by people's erratic reactions to death. Exploring our death rituals - and those of other cultures - she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying. Full of bizarre encounters, gallows humour and vivid characters (both living and very dead), this illuminating account makes this otherwise terrifying subject inviting and fascinating.
Death is the one certainty in life, yet, with the decline of religion in the West, we have become collectively reluctant to talk about it. Our contemporary rituals seek to sanitise death and distance us from our own inevitable fate. If we want to know how previous generations dealt with death, graveyards (famous and not) tell us the history -- if we are able to read them. If we want to know how we struggle today with understanding or facing up to death, then graveyards provide a starting point. And, if we want to escape the present taboo on acknowledging our mortality and contemplate our own end, then graveyards offer a rare welcome. From Neolithic mounds to internet memorials via medieval corpse roads and municipal cemeteries, war graves and holocaust memorials, Roman catacombs, Pharaonic grave-robbers, Hammer horrors, body-snatchers, Days of the Dead, humanist burials and flameless cremations, Stanford shows us how to read a graveyard, what to look out for in our own, and how even the most initially unpromising exploration can enthral.