In this collection of essays on writers' end-of-life memoirs Berman combines a fine-tuned appreciation of literary strategies with reflections on how writers, who have defined themselves, their philosophies, their voices, and their values publicly, bring their life work to characteristic and fitting conclusions in writing about their own dying.  The writers he considers cover a broad spectrum that ranges from Roland Barthes and Edward Said to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Tony Judt to Art Buchwald and Randy Pausch.  Each essay offers insights into the writer's approaches to death and dying against the background of his or her earlier work. 


This is a rich, provocative, imaginative tour of recent ventures in ars moriendi.  Berman writes as one acquainted with grief, and who has had his own close call with death, recounted in the opening chapter.  He maintains a bifocal interest in the life and the work of each subject, focusing especially on their relationships to their readers as a factor in the ways they chose to make public their dying.  A fine addition to any library of works on death and dying.


University of Massachusetts Press

Place Published

Amherst, Boston



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