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The Power of Death
Contemporary Reflections on Death in Western Society
Edited by Maria-José Blanco and Ricarda Vidal
272 pages, 17 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78238-433-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2014)
ISBN 978-1-78533-510-5 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (February 2017)
eISBN 978-1-78238-434-2 eBook
“As well as for thanatology and death studies specialists, the book will be of even keener interest to those in the various areas touched on in the essays, offering an eye-opening introduction to an interdisciplinary approach in this fascinating field.” · Social Anthropology
“The extraordinary impact of loss is discussed in a number of contexts including war and the complexities of dealing with that experience in a socially and culturally dynamic contemporary society. Contributors are drawn from a range of disciplines and international academic contexts, which makes for rich empirical fare…as well as covering socially important topics.” · Avril Maddrell, University of the West of England
“The conceptual and methodological concerns contained within this collection are very wide ranging and… there is something for every reader who hails from an arts and humanities or social science background.” · Hannah Rumble, University of Bath
The social and cultural changes of the last century have transformed death from an everyday fact to something hidden from view. Shifting between the practical and the theoretical, the professional and the intimate, the real and the fictitious, this collection of essays explores the continued power of death over our lives. It examines the idea and experience of death from an interdisciplinary perspective, including studies of changing burial customs throughout Europe; an account of a“dying party” in the Netherlands; examinations of the fascination with violent death in crime fiction and the phenomenon of serial killer art; analyses of death and bereavement in poetry, fiction, and autobiography; and a look at audience reactions to depictions of death on screen. By studying and considering how death is thought about in the contemporary era, we might restore the natural place it has in our lives.
Maria-José Blanco is a Lecturer and Language teacher in the Department of Spanish Portuguese and Latin American Studies (SPLAS) at King’s College London. She is the author of Life-writing in Carmen Martín Gaite’s Cuadernos de todo and her Novels of the 1990s (2013), and the editor of a special issue of Journal of Romance Studies, “Airing the Private: Women’s Diaries in the Luso-Hispanic World” (2009) and the forthcoming Feminine Singular: Growing up through life-writing in the Luso-Hispanic World (2014).
Ricarda Vidal holds a PhD in Cultural Studies (Birkbeck University of London) and teaches at the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She has published on urban space, the legacy of Modernism and Romanticism, speed, the car and driving as cultural phenomena, and society’s fascination with death and murder. She is the author of Death and Desire in Car Crash Culture: A Century of Romantic Futurisms (2013).