The Modern Art of Dying: A History of Euthanasia in the United States

By Shai J. Lavi | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction

1. The deathbed story that follows was published by Mrs. Hannah Howe's husband in “The Grace of God Manifested” Methodist Review 1 (1818): 22–25.

2. Hertzler, The Horse and Buggy Doctor, 125–126.

3. Thwing, “Euthanasia in Articulo Mortis.”

4. Rilke and Mitchell, “Death.”

5. Cowley, Young, and Raffin, “Care of the Dying.”

6. More, Utopia and Other Writings.

7. Bacon, The Works of Francis Bacon, vol. 4.

8. Only a handful of historical studies of euthanasia go back to the nineteenth century. The most elaborate is a doctoral dissertation written by Stephen Louis Kuepper, “Euthanasia in America, 1890–1960: The Controversy, the Movement, and the Law” (Rutgers University, 1981). It has been an extremely helpful resource for chapters 3 and 4 of this study. Other less elaborate studies of the history of euthanasia are Emanuel, “The History of Euthanasia in the United States and Britain”; Fye, “Active Euthanasia”; Reiser, “The Dilemma of Euthanasia in Modern Medical History”; Van Der Sluis, “The Movement for Euthanasia, 1875–1975.” A more recent book on the topic came out only after the completion of this study, Ian Dowbiggin's A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. Dowbiggin's book too, with the exception of a short introduction, begins in the twentieth century. In addition, the book focuses primarily on the euthanasia movement, whereas this study places the euthanasia debate and movement within the broader context of the history of dying.

9. The understanding of modernity as the world in which art has vanished and technique holds sway is grounded in the thinking of Martin Heidegger. This thought, so fundamental to Heidegger's work, cannot be located in any single text. For some of Heidegger's work that touches on the topic, see Heidegger's Basic Questions of Philosophy; Poetry, Language, Thought; and The Question con- cerning Technology, and Other Essays; and Heidegger and Fink, Heraclitus Seminar, 1966/67. A more detailed discussion of art and technique follows. It should be noted here that the common use of the word “technology” is inaccurate and misleading. It suggests that modern technique has self-knowledge, when this is clearly not the case. Whenever possible, I have substituted “technique” for “technology” and “technical' for 'technological.”

10. A similar historical transformation from religion through medicine to public policy was documented in the study of cholera outbreaks in nineteenth-century America by Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years.

-181-

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