Death is simultaneously silent, and very loud, in political life. Politicians and media scream about potential threats lurking behind every corner, but academic discourse often neglects mortality. Life is everywhere in theorisation of security, but death is nowhere. Making a bold intervention into the Critical Security Studies literature, this book explores the ontological relationship between mortality and security after the Death of God – arguing that security emerged in response to the removal of promises to immortal salvation. Combining the mortality theories of Heidegger and Bauman with literature from the sociology of death, Heath-Kelly shows how security is a response to the death anxiety implicit within the human condition. The book explores the theoretical literature on mortality before undertaking a comparative exploration of the memorialisation of four prominent post-terrorist sites: the World Trade Center in New York, the Bali bombsite, the London bombings and the Norwegian sites attacked by Anders Breivik. By interviewing the architects and designers of these reconstruction projects, Heath-Kelly shows that practices of memorialization are a retrospective security endeavour – they conceal and re-narrate the traumatic incursion of death. Disaster recovery is replete with security practices that return mortality to its sublimated position and remove the disruption posed by mortality to political authority. The book will be of significant interest to academics and postgraduates working in the fields of Critical Security Studies, Memory Studies and International Politics.
The focus in this book is on how the dead and dying were represented in Gothic texts between 1740 and 1914 - between Graveyard poetry and the mass death occasioned by the First World War. The corpse might seem to have an obvious place in the Gothic imaginary but, as we shall see, the corpse so often refuses to function as a formal Gothic prop and in order to understand why this occurs we need to explore what the corpse figuratively represented in the Gothic during the long nineteenth century. Representations of death often provide a vehicle for other contemplations than just death. A central aim of this study is to explore how images of death and dying were closely linked to models of creativity, which argues for a new way of looking at aesthetics during the period. Writers explored include Edward Young, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, James Boaden, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Henry Rider Haggard, Bram Stoker and Arthur Machen.
This book provides an ambitious overview of how topics related to death and dying are explored in modern Western theatre, covering a time-span of over a hundred years and engaging multiple cultural contexts. In a series of micronarratives beginning in the late nineteenth century, this book considers how and why death and dying are represented at certain historical moments using dramaturgy and aesthetics that challenge audiences’ conceptions, sensibilities and sense-making faculties. Chapters focus on the ambiguous evocation of death in symbolist theatre; fantastical representations of death in plays about the First World War; satires of death denial in absurdist drama; ‘theatres of catastrophe’ after Auschwitz and Hiroshima; and drama about dying in the early twenty-first century. The book includes a mix of well-known and lesser-known plays and performance pieces from an international range of dramatists and theatre-makers. It offers original interpretations through close reading and performance analysis, informed by scholarship from diverse fields, including history, sociology and philosophy.It investigates the opportunities theatre affords to reflect on the end of life in a compelling and socially meaningful fashion. Written in a lively, accessible style, this book will be of interest to scholars of modern Western theatre and those interested in death studies.
The gothic and death is the first ever published study to investigate how the multifarious strands of the Gothic and the concepts of death, dying, mourning, and memorialization – what the Editor broadly refers to as "the Death Question" – have intersected and been configured cross-culturally to diverse ends from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. Drawing on recent scholarship in Gothic Studies, film theory, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Thanatology Studies, to which fields it seeks to make a valuable contribution, this interdisciplinary collection of fifteen essays by international scholars considers the Gothic’s engagement, by way of its unique necropolitics and necropoetics, with death’s challenges to all systems of meaning, and its relationship to the culturally contingent concepts of memento mori, subjectivity, spectrality, and corporeal transcendence. Attentive to our defamiliarization with death since the advent of enlightened modernity and the death-related anxieties engendered by that transition, The gothic and death combines detailed attention to socio-historical and cultural contexts with rigorous close readings of artistic, literary, televisual, and cinematic works. This surprisingly underexplored area of enquiry is considered by way of such popular and uncanny figures as corpses, ghosts, zombies, and vampires, and across various cultural and literary forms as Graveyard Poetry, Romantic poetry, Victorian literature, nineteenth-century Italian and Russian literature, Anglo-American film and television, contemporary Young Adult fiction, Bollywood film noir, and new media technologies that complicate our ideas of mourning, haunting, and the "afterlife" of the self.
From 1348 to 1350 Europe was devastated by an epidemic that left between a third and one half of the population dead. This book traces, through contemporary writings, the calamitous impact of the Black Death in Europe, with a particular emphasis on its spread across England from 1348 to 1349. It charts the social and psychological impact of the plague, and its effect on the late-medieval economy. Focusing on England, an exceptionally well documented region, the book then offers a wide range of evidence for the plague's variegated repercussions on the economy and, no less complex, on social and religious conduct. It is concerned with the British experience of plague in the fourteenth century. Students of intellectual history will find a wealth of pseudo-scientific explanations of the plague ranging from astrological conjunctions, through earthquakes releasing toxic vapours, to well poisoning by Jews. From narrative accounts, often of heartrending immediacy, the book further proceeds to a variety of contemporary responses, drawn from many parts of Christian Europe. It then explains contemporary claims that the plague had been caused by human agency. The book attempts to explain the plague, which was universally regarded as an expression of divine vengeance for the sins of humankind.
As innovations in military technologies race toward ever-greater levels of automation and autonomy, debates over the ethics of violent technologies tread water. Discussions about whether lethal drones are the most moral and effective tools to combat terrorism, or whether killer robots could kill more ethically than humans, often end up conflating efficiency with morality and legality with ethicality. Such conceptual confusions raise urgent questions about what is at work in the relationship between lethal technologies, their uses, and the ethical justifications provided for technologised practices of political violence. What enables the framing of instruments for killing as inherently ethical? What socio-political rationale underpins these processes? And what kind of ethical framework for violence is produced in such a socio-political context? Death Machines reframes current debates on the ethics of technologised practices of violence, arguing that the way we conceive of the ethics of contemporary warfare is itself imbued with a set of bio-technological rationalities that work as limits. The task for critical thought must therefore be to unpack, engage, and challenge these limits. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, the book offers a close reading of the technology-biopolitics-complex that informs and produces contemporary subjectivities, highlighting the perilous implications this has for how we think about the ethics of political violence, both now and in the future.
In May 1774, Louis XV died, triggering a sequence of rituals unseen in fifty-nine
years. This book explores how these one-in-a-reign rituals unfolded fifteen
years before the Revolution. From the deathbed of Louis XV, the book covers his
funeral, the lit de justice of November 1774, and the coronation of Louis XVI
and related ceremonies in June 1775, relating them all to the politics of the
day. Threads of continuity emerge from this closely woven narrative to form a
compelling picture of these ceremonies in the dynamic culture of 1770s France.
Light is shed on the place of monarchy, the recall of the parlements and the
conduct of the coronation. This study provides an overview of the current state
of the field of ritual studies in English and French, situating ritual in
relation to court studies as well as political history. It covers court life,
the relationship between the monarch and the parlement, the preparation of
large-scale rituals and the ways in which those outside the court engaged with
these events, providing rich detail on this under-researched period. Written in
a clear, lively style, this book is the ideal text for the non-specialist and,
as each chapter deals with one ritual, it lends itself readily to undergraduate
teaching of topics around monarchy, court society, ritual, and politics,
including the Maupeou coup. More advanced students and specialists on the period
will find new perspectives and information presented in an engaging manner.
While there may be
‘nothing more terrible, nothing more true’ than death,
as Philip Larkin avers in his bleak poem ‘Aubade’ ( 2013 : line 20), many Gothic works aggravate
the terrors of death and supplement its facticity with profoundly
disturbing fantasies that perversely amplify dread and revulsion.
This is most patently and crudely manifested in palpably macabre
So far this study of death has
argued that death fails to signify in any explicitly Gothic way. Death
is either not the end or is turned into a subject for scientific
enquiry. The work of Charles Dickens, however, demonstrates the presence
of an emerging Gothic vernacular, one centred on a metaphysics of death,
which progresses the history mapped so far in this study. Dickens
The absurd drama of modern death denial
Six months after the outbreak of the First World War, Sigmund Freud
wrote an essay that endeavoured to shed light on the mental distress it
had caused. For Freud, this was connected to the general attitude to death
prior to the war – an attitude rooted in denial. ‘We showed an unmistakeable tendency to put death on one side, to eliminate it from life. We tried
to hush it up […]. [In] the unconscious every one of us is convinced of his
own immortality’ (1985 : 77). The circumstances of war inevitably