The Power of Death: Contemporary Reflections on Death in Western Society | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
The Power of Death: Contemporary Reflections on Death in Western Society

View Table of Contents

See Related
Cultural studies Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

The Power of Death

Contemporary Reflections on Death in Western Society

Edited by Maria-José Blanco and Ricarda Vidal

272 pages, 17 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-433-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2014)

ISBN  978-1-78533-510-5 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (February 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-434-2 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“As well as for thanatology and death studies specialists, the book will be of even keener interest to those in the various areas touched on in the essays, offering an eye-opening introduction to an interdisciplinary approach in this fascinating field.” · Social Anthropology

“The extraordinary impact of loss is discussed in a number of contexts including war and the complexities of dealing with that experience in a socially and culturally dynamic contemporary society. Contributors are drawn from a range of disciplines and international academic contexts, which makes for rich empirical fare…as well as covering socially important topics.” · Avril Maddrell, University of the West of England

“The conceptual and methodological concerns contained within this collection are very wide ranging and… there is something for every reader who hails from an arts and humanities or social science background.” · Hannah Rumble, University of Bath


The social and cultural changes of the last century have transformed death from an everyday fact to something hidden from view. Shifting between the practical and the theoretical, the professional and the intimate, the real and the fictitious, this collection of essays explores the continued power of death over our lives. It examines the idea and experience of death from an interdisciplinary perspective, including studies of changing burial customs throughout Europe; an account of a“dying party” in the Netherlands; examinations of the fascination with violent death in crime fiction and the phenomenon of serial killer art; analyses of death and bereavement in poetry, fiction, and autobiography; and a look at audience reactions to depictions of death on screen. By studying and considering how death is thought about in the contemporary era, we might restore the natural place it has in our lives.

Maria-José Blanco is a Lecturer and Language teacher in the Department of Spanish Portuguese and Latin American Studies (SPLAS) at King’s College London. She is the author of Life-writing in Carmen Martín Gaite’s Cuadernos de todo and her Novels of the 1990s (2013), and the editor of a special issue of Journal of Romance Studies, “Airing the Private: Women’s Diaries in the Luso-Hispanic World” (2009) and the forthcoming Feminine Singular: Growing up through life-writing in the Luso-Hispanic World (2014).

Ricarda Vidal holds a PhD in Cultural Studies (Birkbeck University of London) and teaches at the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London.  She has published on urban space, the legacy of Modernism and Romanticism, speed, the car and driving as cultural phenomena, and society’s fascination with death and murder. She is the author of Death and Desire in Car Crash Culture: A Century of Romantic Futurisms (2013).

Subject: Cultural Studies (General)SociologyLiterary Studies


Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend The Power of Death Contemporary Reflections on Death in Western Society for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.