Death's Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Teaches Us About Life and Living

Death's Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Teaches Us About Life and Living

by Brandy Schillace

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In the tradition of Being Mortal, Brandy Schillace looks at what we can learn from the incredibly diverse ways in which humans have dealt with mortality in different times and places

Death is something we all confront—it touches our families, our homes, our hearts. And yet we have grown used to denying its existence, treating it as an enemy to be beaten back with medical advances.

We are living at a unique point in human history. People are living longer than ever, yet the longer we live, the more taboo and alien our mortality becomes. Yet we, and our loved ones, still remain mortal. People today still struggle with this fact, as we have done throughout our entire history. What led us to this point? What drove us to sanitize death and make it foreign and unfamiliar?

Schillace shows how talking about death, and the rituals associated with it, can help provide answers. It also brings us closer together—conversation and community are just as important for living as for dying. Some of the stories are strikingly unfamiliar; others are far more familiar than you might suppose. But all reveal much about the present—and about ourselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681770932
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 12/31/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
File size: 16 MB
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About the Author

Author, historian, and public intellectual, Dr. Brandy Schillace seeks to uncover the human stories at the center of science and medicine. She is Senior Research Associate and Public Engagement Fellow for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History and Editor in Chief of BMJ’s Medical Humanities Journal. Recent publications include Death's Summer Coat (a cultural history of death and dying) and Clockwork Futures (steampunk science in the age of manufactured power). She has appeared on public radio, local television, and most recently, the Travel Channel’s "Mysteries at the Museum" season premier.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Meet the New (Old) Death 1

Chapter 1 Dead and Knowing It 15

Chapter 2 Eat Your Dead (and Other Advice) 43

Chapter 3 Through a Glass, Darkly 69

Chapter 4 Dying Victorian: Memento Mori, Hair Jewellery and Crape 99

Chapter 5 Death at the Anatomy Theatre 127

Chapter 6 Death and the Doctor 159

Chapter 7 Death Comes to Dinner 191

Epilogue: Beginning at the End 231

Notes 239

Index 259

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