Death : a graveside companion / edited by Joanna Ebenstein ; foreword by Will Self.

  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Graveside companion


Death is the one inevitable fact of life. Throughout the centuries, humanity has sought to understand this sobering thought through art and ritual. The theme of memento mori informs medieval Danse Macabre, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Renaissance paintings of dissected corpses and "anatomical Eves," Gothic literature, funeral effigies, Halloween, and paintings of the Last Judgment. Deceased ancestors are celebrated in the Mexican Day of the Dead, while the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead to secure their afterlife.0A volume of unprecedented breadth and sinister beauty, 'Death: A Graveside Companion' examines a staggering range of cultural attitudes toward death. The book is organized into themed chapters: The Art of Dying, Examining the Dead, Memorializing the Dead, The Personification of Death, Symbolizing Death, Death as Amusement, and The Dead After Life. Each chapter begins with thought-provoking articles by curators, academics, and journalists followed by gallery spreads presenting a breathtaking variety of death-related imagery and artifacts. From skulls to the dance of death, statuettes to ex libris, memento mori to memorabilia, all the images are of artifacts in the astonishing collection of Richard Harris and range from 2000 BCE to the present day, running the gamut of both high and popular culture.


London : Thames & Hudson, 2017.

Physical description

367 pages : colour illustrations, facsimiles ; 28 cm


"Featuring the Richard Harris Art Collection"--Front book cover.
"1,000 macabre illustrations"--Front book cover.


Foreword by Will Self -- Introduction by Joanna Ebenstein -- The art of dying: Medusa and the power of the severed head / Laetitia Barbier -- Poe and the prathological sublime / Mark Dery -- The nutshell studies of unexplained death / Bruce Goldfarb -- Examining the dead: Art, science and the changing conventions of anatomical representation / Michael Sappol -- Anatomy embellished in teh cabinet of Frederik Ruysch / Bert van de Roemer -- Anatomical expressionism / Eleanor Crook -- Memorializing the dead: Playing with dead faces / John Troyer -- The power of hair as human relic i mourning jewelry / Karen Bachmann -- The anatomy of holy transformation / Liselotte Hermes de Fonseca -- The personifcation of death: The dance of death / Kevin Pyle -- Eros and Thanatos / Lisa Downing -- Symbolizing death: Collecting death / Evan Michelson -- Death on ancient and present-day Mexico / Eva Aridjis -- Death as amusement: Playing dead -- a gruesome form of amusement / Mervyn Heard -- Theatre, death and the Grand Guignol / Mel Gordon -- Death-themed amusements / Joanna Ebenstein -- The dead after life: Art and afterlife: Ethelle Rossignol and Georgina Houghton / Mark Pilkington -- Holy spiritualism / Elizabeth Harper -- Spiritualism and photography / Shannon Taggart.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 362-363) and index.



Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780500519714
  • 0500519714