A lively examination of why the modern eulogy should rest in peace.
Finding the right words to reckon with a loved one’s death is no easy task, and the pressure to grieve in a timely fashion only makes the difficulty of saying a meaningful goodbye that much harder. We are continually instructed to contain our grief to a limited period, to promptly ‘get over it’ and return to business as usual – is it any wonder that, when themoment for speaking directly to death arrives, we so often grasp at clichÃ? ©s in order to avoid examining our sorrow?
In turning a critical eye toward the act of eulogy, Julia Cooper manages to perceptively, even playfully, create a new space for the bleak act of mourning. Examining fictional eulogies inThe Big Lebowski and Love Actually alongside teary speeches at celebrity funerals and reflections on mourning from Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, The Last Word is a light in the dark. Braiding her delightful, lively cultural analysis with her own personal experiences of loss, Cooper makes a stunning and compelling case for a more compassionateapproach to grief.
Julia Cooper has written for the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Hazlitt magazine, among others. Based in Toronto, Ontario, she recently completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Toronto.
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