Hour of Our Death

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Overview

In this enduring classic, Philippe Aries brings death out of the shadows and into history's mainstream. With unrivaled skill, he explores how over the last millennium the response to death and dying has changed dramatically in Europe, western Russia, and America, sometimes initiating, sometimes reflecting social shifts and progress.

Under Aire's incisive scrutiny, Church observances, pilgrimage and penance, and folk beliefs spring into high relief. Archaic funeral ceremonies, the architecture of tombs, and images of the deceased in stone or paint regain often lost meanings; the libre vitae, the artes morendi, and the danse macabre are stripped of mystery, and their purpose and power made plain. Through a rich array of journals and letters from all periods and classes, as well as religious and secular literature from Dante to Tolstoy and Twain, Aries demonstrates society's concern for reassurance against the finality of death and the individual's search for consolation.

Aries brilliantly analyzes death in the contemporary world in which the hospital, suburban chapel, and crematorium have replaced the bedside, priest, and wake. As his richly documented, finely illustrated, and engagingly written masterpiece confirms, death and dying have inspired much of the literature of---and art that forms---our cultural heritage.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book represents a remarkable collection of historical aphorisms. It is a classic that should be read by all serious students of death and dying.”—Darrell Chase, University of Memphis

“Philippe Aries has provided us with an extraordinary historical account of the perception and experience of death and dying. . . . This book . . . demands serious attention. . . . Please read this remarkable book. . . .The book is a magnificent contribution to society.”—Journal of Religious Gerontology

“Aries has once again given us something of which probably no other historian. . . is capable: an absolutely magnificent 1,000-year panorama of an extremely elusive, yet fundamental, human concern.”—The New Republic

“A great work of historical reconstruction...that one immediately recognizes as seminal.”—Psychology Today

“Aries meanders through the long, mazelike corridors of his theme like an insatiable collector, relishing every suggestive find, taking turns at random, and spinning interpretations of everything he sees. . . . A monument to its subject.”—The Saturday Review

“A scholarly study which is very appropriate for junior, senior, and graduate level university students in courses on the sociology and history of death.”—R. Stephen Schwartz, Winona State University

“Clearly a thorough, eclectic study.”—Vincent Barry, Bakersfield College

“A classic in the field of the history of dying and death.”—Nathan Kollar, St. John Fisher

“A gorgeous, amazing book that will give me many hours of education and entertainment.”—Pat Crane, San Antonio College

“An excellent look at death as seen through the ages.”—Philip G. Patros, South Connecticut State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394751566
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Series: Vintage
  • Edition description: lst Vintage Books ed
  • Pages: 696
  • Sales rank: 641,697
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
The late Philippe Ariès was also the author of Centuries of Childhood.

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