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First Person Mortal: Personal Narratives of Illness, Dying, and Grief

First Person Mortal: Personal Narratives of Illness, Dying, and Grief
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Index , Bibliography
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Beginning their work by exploring the idea that denial of death is characteristic of contemporary American society, Lucy Bregman and Sara Thiermann sift through numerous personal narratives about death and dying to derive a uniquely American vision of mortality and the afterlife.

Over the course of First Person Mortal, Bregman and Thiermann look at more than sixty accounts from diaries and essays to a few select novels. After grouping these accounts under several broad headings, the authors consider a variety of issues recurring in the narratives: theories of autobiography; patients' rights and medical ethics; modern society's emphasis on "expressive individualism;" the genderedness of mortal experience; the destruction of the body in a culture prizing physical beauty; the loss of the self and personal identity; and the ways people use religion or "spirituality" to interpret their experiences.

LUCY BREGMAN is associate professor of religion at Temple University. She is the author of several books on the psychology of religion, including The Rediscovery of Inner Experience and The Landscape of Faith.

SARA THIERMANN has taught courses on bereavement counseling, ethics of care, and death and dying at Temple University, LaSalle University, and the University of Pennsylvania. She is active in the hospice movement in Philadelphia.

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