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Picture of Death in Literature

Death in Literature

Editor(s): Outi Hakola, Sari Kivistö

Book Description

Death is an inevitable, yet mysterious event. Fiction is one way to imagine and gain knowledge of death. Death is very useful to literature, as it creates plot twists, suspense, mysteries, and emotional effects in narrations. But more importantly, stories about death seem to have an existential importance to our lives. Stories provide fictional encounters with death and give meaning for both death and life. Thus, death is more than a physical or psychological experience in literature; it also highlights existential questions concerning humanity and storytelling.

This volume, entitled Death in Literature, approaches death by examining the narratives and spectacles of death, dying and mortality in different literary genres. The articles consider literary representations of death from ancient Rome to the Netherlands today, and explore ways of dealing with death and dying. The discussions also transcend the boundaries of literature by studying literary representations of such socially relevant and death-related issues as euthanasia and suicide. The articles offer a broad perspective on death’s role in literature as well as literature’s role in the social and cultural debates about death.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5678-2
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5678-9
Date of Publication: 01/05/2014
Pages / Size: 317 / A5
Price: £49.99


Outi Hakola, PhD, is working as Coordinator at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland. Her research focuses on representations of death, dying, and mourning in media.

Sari Kivistö, PhD, Docent of Comparative Literature, works as an Academy of Finland Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Kivistö has published widely on early modern literature and classical traditions; her publications include Medical Analogy in Latin Satire (2009) and The Vices of Learning (2014).