DEATH, GRIEF, AND MOURNING by Geoffrey Gorer

DEATH, GRIEF, AND MOURNING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A graver (oops- sorry) consideration of British contemporary attitudes toward death than its ""American handling... on which Mesdames Mitford and Harmer have lavished their wit and indignation,"" in which Gorer is particularly interested in identifying the sociological and cultural implications. His study is an assimilation of a survey conducted, along with partial material secured in his earlier Exploring English Character, and an interpretation of the attitudes revealed. The specifics correlate evidence on how and where people die, on the euphemisms which still surround death, on the concept of the afterlife, on the funeral, gravestones, mourning dress; condolences, on the dreams of the dead (more comforting than distressing), on the styles of mourning, position of the widow, etc., etc. Specifics aside, along with some of the interesting social distinctions, you get to the purport of the book which is to show that death still is, as it always has been, a taboo subject; that it is shrouded in embarrassments squeamishness and prudery which leave us ""without adequate guidance"" or actually defenses when dealing with bereavement. Since the interviews numbered under 400, the findings are necessarily suggestive rather than conclusive. But Gorer is, as always, an attractive commentator, and the ""furtive fascination for many people"" which death exerts is right here on the printed page.

Publisher: Doubleday