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Remembrances and Celebrations: A Book of Eulogies, Elegies, Letters, and Epitaphs Hardcover – May 18, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (May 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375401237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375401237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,869,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Finding the right words at a time of loss can understandably cause a eulogist much angst and apprehension. How does one commemorate and honor a person whose life feels like a miracle and whose passing still feels incomprehensible? Fortunately, this book of eulogies can offer guidance as well as inspiration for the bereaved. For example, Wallace Stegner writes a specific yet universal memory to his mother Hilda: "I have a clear mental image of your pursed lips and your crinkling eyes, and I know that nothing I can say will persuade you that I was ever less than you thought me."

Included here are the wrenchingly beautiful eulogies to great loves, including Lillian Hellman's final words to the love of her life, Dashiell Hammett, and Henry Miller's tribute to his legendary lover, Anaïs Nin. And it must have been with bottomless sorrow that Edward Kennedy mustered his tender and deeply personal tribute to his second slain brother, Robert Kennedy. These are all heartfelt and eloquent words, certain to comfort and aid the eulogist. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Comprised of eulogies from the 20th century, as well as, poetic elegies, condolence letters and tombstone epitaphs spanning from the 17th century to the present, this eclectic sourcebook offers inspiration for anyone seeking to memorialize a loved one. Since the mourners and the dead in each instance are well-known writers (Lillian Hellman eulogizes Dashiell Hammett) and public figures (Reverend Jesse Jackson lays Jackie Robinson to rest), the collection is a bonanza for the morbidly minded browser as well. The authors vary in skill, but all of the tributes are characterized by genuine feelings of loss. Outstanding examples include Wallace Stegner's moving eulogy for his mother and Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof's simple, passionate declaration of love for her grandfather, Yitzhak Rabin. Many of the condolence letters are of historical interest, such as Abigail Adams's condolences to her estranged friend Thomas Jefferson upon the death of his daughter. Also included is the letter accused spy Ethel Rosenberg wrote to her sons on the day she and her husband were executed. Whereas most of the elegies by poets Dickinson, Longfellow and others are consoling, some of the inscriptions in the short selection of epitaphs provide a dose of leavening humor: "Here lie my husbands One Two Three, Dumb as men could ever be."
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book consists of a very wisely chosen selection of interesting writings on human loss. The over 100 writers and subjects include Mark Twain, Abigail Adams, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, William Wordsworth, Abe Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Virginia Wolf, Martin Luther King and W.H. Auden. The tone and attitudes of each piece vary greatly; all are well written, and each is touching in a slightly different way - from the expressions of profound pain and grief at loss, to the joy and inspiration of rememberance, to the celebration of the continuance of the human spirit. Am I getting carried away? Perhaps, but with justification. The bottom line is I really like this book, and strongly recommend it to all readers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Harris shows uncommon sensitivity in her choice of authors. I was moved to tears of joy and sorrow on several occasions. Without a doubt Ms Harris's work will rank as one of the most thoughful and provocative volumes of how we, as human beings, deal with grief and ultimately move on.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. Everyone who is dealing with or has delt with the loss of someone should read this book! It will help them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I can't remember another book that had such a profound impact on me. The tributes are written with the utmost sincerity and affection and weaved together with delicate care. "Remembrances and Celebrations" is a book that I will give to everyone I care about and will keep with me always.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book contains 50 eulogies (Rupert Brooke by Winston Churchill, Malcolm X by Ossie Davis, Robert Kennedy by Edward Kennedy, etc.); 42 letters of condolence (Herman Hesse to Thomas Mann, James Michener to his friends, RAF pilot to his mother, etc.); 50 elegies (songs or poems, by Langston Hughes, Emily Bronte, Noel Coward, etc.); and 110 epitaphs from the graves of Thomas Jefferson, T.S. Eliot, Hilaire Belloc and others -- my favorite:

"Here lies Jane Smith, wife of Thomas Smith, Marble cutter./Monuments of the same style, $350."

The selections are touching, and although it would have been nice to have name and location information about the epitaphs, the book is still an eloquent tribute to one of life's most difficult times.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm an Episcopal clergy person in charge of a parish and have meant to write this review for years. This book is a well worn, essential part of my priestly tool box. Before any funeral, I spend time with it to get steeped in how great writers have written about the essence of famous and great persons. While a sermon is different than a eulogy, this collection gets me into the flow of how to speak of the deceased and 'what made them tick' in 500-1000 words. This book is also marvelous spiritual reading. It's a very unique book that explores grief and reflection through letters in a winsome, curious and genuine way, not at arms length or couched in psychological terms. It's honest, searing at times and achingly real. I often wonder what motivated the author to compile the book; perhaps she was working through a grief of her own. The result is a touching and extremely useful book for 'those who speak where many listen' and want to do better than dreadful eulogies we've all been subjected to at one time or another. If you're a leader of an organization or required to eulogize on occasion, buy this book and learn how to do it through the great eulogizers in the golden age of oratory. Joel Ives, Brookline MA
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