Remembrances and Celebrations: A Book of Eulogies, Elegies, Letters, and Epitaphs
Jill Werman Harris
Pantheon Books, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 308 pages
This is a collection of powerful and inspirational responses to loss and to the age-old impulse to honor and memorialize the uniqueness of each human being.
For the bereaved, the ritual of delivering a eulogy can seem insurmountably difficult. Remembrances and Celebrations provides gentle guidance in this profoundly important task, with a wide range of examples of memorial tributes and expressions of bereavement drawn from both the famous and the obscure, from ancient times to the present.
Here are the words of famous lovers: Henry Miller's homage to Anais Nin, Lillian Hellman's eulogy for Dashiell Hammett. Here are fallen heroes commemorated, in the heartfelt words of Yitzhak Rabin's granddaughter at his funeral, in Ossie Davis's farewell to Malcolm X, in Earl Spencer's tribute to the Princess of Wales. Here, too, are moving letters: Charles Dickens to his wife on the death of their daughter, Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson on his daughter's death, an anonymous Royal Air Force pilot to his mother on the eve of his final battle.
Auden's "Funeral Blues" is here, along with the Cavafy poem recited by Maurice Tempelsman at Jacqueline Onassis' service. And there is room for humor as well, as in Hilaire Belloc's famous epitaph, "When I am dead, I hope it may be said, 'His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'"
Remembrances and Celebrations is a comforting and affecting anthology of the literature of mourning, and a welcome aid in times of our own bereavement.
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