The Mourner's Dance: What We Do When People Die

Paperback | September 30, 2004

byKatherine Ashenburg

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When her daughter's fiancé died suddenly, Katherine Ashenburg was surprised to see how her daughter intuitively re-created the traditional rituals of mourning, even those of which she was ignorant. Intrigued, Ashenburg began to explore the rich and endlessly inventive choreographies different cultures and times have devised to mark a universal and deeply felt plight.

Contemporary North American culture favors a mourning that is private and virtually invisible. But, as Ashenburg reveals, the grieving customs of the past were so integrated into daily life that ultimately they gave rise to public parks and ready-to-wear clothing. Our keepsakes, prescribed bereavement garb, resting places, mourning etiquette; and ways of commiserating from wakes to Internet support groups remain clues to our most elemental beliefs, and our most effective means of restoring selves, and communities, unraveled by loss.

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From the Publisher

When her daughter's fiancé died suddenly, Katherine Ashenburg was surprised to see how her daughter intuitively re-created the traditional rituals of mourning, even those of which she was ignorant. Intrigued, Ashenburg began to explore the rich and endlessly inventive choreographies different cultures and times have devised to mar...

Katherine Ashenburg is a journalist, lecturer, and regular contributor to The New York Times. She lives in Toronto.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.22 × 5.12 × 0.88 inPublished:September 30, 2004Publisher:North Point PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0865477051

ISBN - 13:9780865477056

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A fascinating, intelligent, moving, and witty account of one of our most basic and least understood needs: to come to terms with the end of a life that we loved.