Why this book?
This was one of the first books that got me thinking critically about ‘dark tourism’. Harrison inspired me to look at how the dead maintain their relations with the living. In turn, the book galvanized my thinking of the many touristic places where the dead cohabit the world of the living. These range from graves, monuments, and memorials, and made me think about how we give the dead a memorialized afterlife. Drawing upon philosophy, history, and poetry, Harrison teaches us that as we follow in the footsteps of the dead, we are not self-authored. Instead, the thought of death shapes the communion of the living. Within the ‘Dominion of the Dead’, the dead become our guardians where we give them a future so that they may give us a past.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
In The Dominion of the Dead, Robert Pogue Harrison explores the many places where the dead cohabit the world of the living - the graves, images, literature, architecture, and monuments that house the dead in their afterlife among us. This elegantly conceived work devotes particular attention to the practice of burial. Harrison contends that we bury our dead to humanize the lands where we build our present and imagine our future. Through inspired readings of major writers and thinkers such as Vico, Virgil, Dante, Pater, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Rilke, he argues that the buried dead form an essential foundation where…