The Corpse: A History

The Corpse: A History

by Christine Quigley
     
 

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Throughout the centuries, different cultures have established a variety of procedures for handling and disposing of corpses. Often the methods are directly associated with the deceased's position in life, such as a pharaoh's mummification in Egypt or the cremation of a Buddhist. Treatment by the living of the dead over time and across cultures is the focus of study.

Overview

Throughout the centuries, different cultures have established a variety of procedures for handling and disposing of corpses. Often the methods are directly associated with the deceased's position in life, such as a pharaoh's mummification in Egypt or the cremation of a Buddhist. Treatment by the living of the dead over time and across cultures is the focus of study. Burial arrangements and preparations are detailed, including embalming, the funeral service, storage and transport of the body, and forms of burial. Autopsies and the investigative process of causes of deliberate death are fully covered. Preservation techniques such as cryonic suspension and mummification are discussed, as well as a look at the "recycling" of the corpse through organ donation, donation to medicine, animal scavengers, cannibalism, and, of course, natural decay and decomposition. Mistreatments of a corpse are also covered.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The significance of the corpse in society reflects what we think about death and dying, notes Quigley. How the living deal with the lifeless body is based on a profoundly complicated set of cultural values. Quigley's Death Dictionary: Over 5500 Clinical, Legal, Literary and Vernacular Terms (McFarland, 1994), which chronicled a staggering number of euphemisms for death, made her aware of the many ways society has viewed the experience of death. Quigley here provides an historical overview of how Europeans treated and disposed of the dead. Specifically, she looks at the role of the corpse during the process of grief and how it has been prepared for funeral rites, as well as its value to other interested parties such as medical examiners. Based primarily on monographic sources, Quigley's book does not offer a major contribution to academic scholarship; it is, however, a fascinating and well-researched documentation of a compelling topic. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.-Mary Hemmings, Univ. of Calgary, Alberta
Booknews
Explores how the living have treated the dead over time and across cultures. Discusses the corpse as an object of grief, the last rites, the causes of death (autopsies, etc.), recycling the corpse (donations, cannibalism, vampires, etc.), keeping the corpse (preservation, veneration, etc.), respect for the corpse, and caretakers of the dead (embalmers, executioners, etc.). Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Morbid Curiosity
very well researched...engaging...fascinating
Science and Justice
well referenced...comprehensive

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476613772
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Christine Quigley writes books and articles, reviews books for Fortean Times, and adds daily posts to her eclectic blog at Quigley's Cabinet. She lives in Florida.

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