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Description - On Mourning by William Watkin

Since the events of September 11th the problems of loss, mourning and commemoration have preoccupied our culture. Ours is not a culture in mourning so much as a mourning culture. Mourning, and its ethical and communal implications, therefore, are central to an understanding of contemporary western culture and its development in the new millennium. This study confronts the issue of loss and its commemoration in contemporary writing. Bringing together work from literary studies, anthropology, psychoanalysis, cultural theory and contemporary philosophy, William Watkin offers an overview of the process of mourning in our culture that is both wide-reaching and challenging. He provides illuminating readings of contemporary writing practices, showing how our "mourning culture" is manifested in traditional elegies, contemporary novels, personal narratives, emotional speech and political rhetoric. In particular, Watkin considers the central issues of emotional authenticity, the relationship between commemorative art and the dead body, the psychological impact of loss and our communal responses to the "otherness" of death. Overall, the book not only explores the aesthetics of loss in specific written, spoken and visual examples, it also puts forward a theory of the ethics of mourning both for individual subjects and communities as a whole. Such a radical reappraisal of the importance of loss and of art will have major implications for literary and cultural studies for years to come.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780748618781
ISBN-10: 0748618783
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x 24mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Edinburgh University Press
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publish Date: 29-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - William Watkin

Dr William Watkin is Lecturer in Literature at Brunel University, West London. He is author of In the Process of Poetry: The New York School (Bucknell UP, 2001) along with numerous articles in the fields of contemporary poetry, literary theory and the avant-garde. He is currently working on his third book, a critical, theoretical overview of postmodern poetry.

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