Death and Dying: A Bibliographical Survey

By Samuel Southard; G. E. Gorman | Go to book overview

DEVELOPMENT AND DIRECTION OF THANATOLOGY LITERATURE

A narrative poem on death, The Day of Doom, was the first best-seller in America. First printed in 1662, it was a broadside of over 200 doggerel verses on death, doom, and judgment ( Wigglesworth 1118). The pamphlet was literally read to pieces in Puritan New England. No copy of the first edition is known to survive.1

A hundred years later, the best-seller was "The Way to Wealth", a preface to Poor Richard's Almanac by Benjamin Franklin.2 Dollars replaced death in the attention and intentions of an expanding, entrepreneurial nation.

The success orientation of America submerged but did not drown the publication of literature on death and dying. At least an interest in the afterlife continued. Almost five thousand items were in an 1864 publication of "Literature of the Doctrine of a Future Life, a catalogue of works related to the nature, origin and destiny of the soul". ( Travis 2292, 15)3 But the study of death was drowned until World War II. In a 1970 publication, Saffron wrote: "In America thanatology has had until very recent

____________________
1
Perry Miller comments on the popularity of the poem, which was frequently reprinted until 1929. Perry Miller, The Puritans, vol. II, Rev., ed. ( New York: Harper and Row, 1963), 585.
2
Moses Coit Tyler The Literary History of the American Revolution, 1763-1783, II ( New York: Barnes and Noble, 1987) 365. "The Way to Wealth" is printed in Sculley Bradley , ed., American Tradition in Literature, 4th ed. ( New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1974), 246-253.
3
This is the number of an annotated work in the following chapters and the page of a citation.

-xxiii-

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Death and Dying: A Bibliographical Survey
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Foreword xv
  • Preface xix
  • Development and Direction of Thanatology Literature xxiii
  • Chapter 1 General Works: Span and Style of Life, Ancient and Modern 1
  • Chapter 2 Philosophical Theology 89
  • Chapter 3 Counseling the Terminally Ill 173
  • Chapter 4 Grief 305
  • Chapter 5 Caretaking Professions 409
  • Chapter 6 Education for Death 417
  • Chapter 7 Research and Evaluation 445
  • Chapter 8 Bibliographies 451
  • Title Index 479
  • Subject Index 507
  • About the Compiler *
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