• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.

Dead Zoo Chic: Some Conceptual Notes on Taxidermy in American Social Life
Dead Zoo Chic: Some conceptual notes on taxidermy in American social life

Through their painstaking craft, they [taxidermists] give creatures an idealized existence after death; capture images that just happen to have all the dimensions of life. They persuade an observer that an animal's energy has been only temporarily contained. In another instant, life will resume: the giraffe will promenade; the zebra will paw the earth, the wildcat will spring, and those tiny bats will scatter to the sky.

Prologue

Taxidermy is, arguably, a thanatological art form. It is a variation of sculpture, but utilizes bodies of dead animals as its medium, rather than clay or wood, or stone. It is, in effect, “organic sculpture.” Aside ...

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