First published in 1981, this reissue examines mankind’s preoccupation with death and mortality by isolating various societies in different periods of time. The authors examine not only the formal rituals associated with the last rite of passage, but also the social attitudes to death and dying which these rituals evidence. The essays establish that different periods do seem to be characterized by different images of death and attitudes to it, but the authors wisely avoid trying to impose strict chronological pattern. A pioneering work in the historical study of attitudes to death, this reissue should reignite discussion on the significance of death in human history.
Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood examines attitudes to death as reflected in myth and religious thought in Ancient Greece and relates them to social and economic change. R. C. Finucane analysis the social significance of the ‘exemplary’ deaths of kings, criminals, traitors and saints in medieval Europe. Paul Fritz’s essay illustrates the importance of royal burials in early modern Britian; while Joachim Whaley examines the social and political significance of funerals in Hamburg between 1500 and 1800. John McManners discusses the work of Phililppe Aries and other prominent French scholars on the history of attitudes to death. David Irwin examines the images of death portrayed in European tombs around 1800. C.A Bayly analyses the relationship between death ritual and society in Hindu Northern India, while David Cannadine discusses the impact of war on attitudes to death in modern Britain.
Table of Contents
Introduction Joachim Whaley 1. To Die and Enter the House of Hades: Homer, Before and After Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood 2. Sacred Corpse, Profane Carrion: Social Ideals and Death Rituals in the Later Middle Ages R. C. Finucane 3. From ‘Public’ to ‘Private’: The Royal Funerals in England, 1500-1830 Paul S. Fritz 4. Symbolism for the Survivors: The Disposal of the Dead in Hamburg in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries Joachim Whaley 5. Death and the French Historians John McManners 6. Sentiment and Antiquity: European Tombs, 1750-1830 David Irwin 7. From Ritual to Ceremony: Death Ritual and Society in Hindu North India since 1600 C. A. Bayly 8. War and Death, Grief and Mourning in Modern Britain David Cannadine