Life at the end of life : finding words beyond words / Marcia Brennan ; illustrations by Lyn Smallwood.

  • Brennan, Marcia
  • Books

About this work


"Artist and scholar Marcia Brennan serves as Artist in Residence at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and the experience of seeing, close-up, the transitional states and transformational visions involved in the approaching end of life raised countless questions about the intersection of life, death, and art. Those questions are at the heart of this unique book. Bridging disparate fields, including art history, medical humanities, and religious studies, Life at the End of Life explores the ways in which art can provide a means for rendering otherwise abstract, deeply personal, and spiritual experiences vividly concrete and communicable, even as they remain open-ended and transcendent. In the face of death, suffering, and uncertainty, Brennan shows how artistic expression can offer valuable aesthetic and metaphysical avenues for understanding and for making meaning." -- Publisher's description


Bristol, UK : Intellect, 2017.

Physical description

xiv, 236 pages : black and white illustrations ; 23 cm


Part I: Painting the stories: Applied aesthetics and the living epiphany. Between water and sky: The artist in residence in the clinical context -- Seeing only beauty when there's nothing left to see: Creative expressions and epiphanic consciousness -- The circle gets bigger and the light gets brighter: collaborative intersections between medicine and the humanities -- Interwovenness with the world. If you want love: Continuity and creation in domestic genre scenes -- The canopy of birds: Interwovenness with the natural world -- Like pearls: Muslim spirituality and worlds between worlds -- Interwovenness within one another. The wisdom in an eagle's eye: Seeing beyond the dualism of the conventional medical model -- We were dancing clone: Weddings and marriages at the end of life -- The gossamer thread: Parents and children -- Transformative visions: The death that saved our lives. With our candelabra burning: Materialism, trash, and transvaluation -- The stars came down to meet me: Viable subjects and visionary consciousness -- Here comes the next breath: End of life visions and near-death experiences -- Note regarding issues of confidentiality.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9781783206971
  • 1783206977