Why, in the 21st century, is it considered odd to be genuinely interested in death? Death is the one thing that is certain to happen to all of us (taxes having apparently become optional, whatever Benjamin Franklin thought) and many of our ancestors had no option but to accept it as part of their daily lives. Why do so many of us feel a deep connection to the eternal cycle of life, whilst others shy away from even thinking about the end of it?
Freelance writer and author, Violet Fenn (Sex and Sexuality in Victorian Britain, A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture) was once rejected for a post as a trainee undertaker because the funeral director involved considered her background knowledge of death culture to be ‘a bit weird’. This obviously served to do nothing except reinforce her interest in the cultural attitude towards dying, because if even a death professional can consider the topic too morbid for general interest, then what hope is there for the rest of us to become at peace with our inevitable end?
In this talk, Violet will consider the benefits of accepting death as a part of life (and will also explain why Hans Christian Anderson wanted his veins cut after his own death, just to make sure). She will take us for a look at the Victorian tradition of post mortem photography, discuss the ongoing cultural obsession with immortality via the means of both vampirism and botox, as well as examining the emerging modern movement of death acceptance.
Because there really is no such thing as being ‘too weird for death’.
website: Sex, Death, RocknRoll
twitter: Violet Fenn
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