The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture (Hardback)Dina Khapaeva (author)
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Previous considerations of our fixation on death have not developed a convincing theory linking the mounting demand for images of violent death and the dramatic changes in death-related social rituals and practices. This book offers a conceptual framework that connects the observations of the simulated world of fiction and movies-including The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Diaries, Hannibal, and the Harry Potter series-to social and cultural practices, providing an analysis of the specific aesthetics and the intellectual and historical conditions that triggered the cult of death. It also considers the celebration of death in the context of a longstanding critique of humanism and investigates the role played by twentieth-century French theory, as well as by posthumanism, transhumanism, and the animal rights movement, in the formation of the current antihumanist atmosphere.
This timely and thought-provoking book will appeal to general readers and scholars of cultural studies, film and literary studies, anthropology, American and Russian studies, and to anyone hoping to better understand a defining phenomenon of our age.
Publisher: The University of Michigan Press
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
--Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Stanford University
"Khapaeva's book is a deeply thoughtful, clear account of how our culture deals with death, bringing it up close in new literary, film, ritual, and folk art forms. However disturbed we are, we cannot look away, and Khapaeva asks if we have perhaps slipped too deeply into these new kinds of macabre fascination."
--Melvin Konner, Emory University
"Taking on the darkest themes of the contemporary nightmarish fascination with death and the undead in Russia and America, Dina Kapaeva moves beyond sociology and psychology to demonstrate how the fictional representations of vampires and other monsters in literature and film undermine central concepts of humanism. Rather than simply a celebration or sublimation of violence, the current cult of death reduces the relevance and centrality of human beings, rationalism, and religion. Lucidly written, her exploration is full of original insights beautifully revealed in investigations of cases from the Twilight Saga to Harry Potter. "
--Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan
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