Christopher Hitchens' Public dying: Toward a Secular-Humanist Ars Moriendi?

Brennan, Michael (2015) Christopher Hitchens' Public dying: Toward a Secular-Humanist Ars Moriendi? OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying. ISSN 1541-3764

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Abstract

This article explores the public dying of journalist, writer, provocateur, public intellectual, and renowned atheist, Christopher Hitchens. It does so primarily through an analysis of television interviews given by Hitchens following his diagnosis with esophageal cancer in June 2010. Four key themes are identified as emerging from analysis of the interviews: (a) Hitchens’ explicit sense of mission in challenging myths and superstitions surrounding cancer, dying, and death; (b) the personal experience of terminal illness and dying and the particular way (or style of dying) by which it is approached; (c) issues of regret and a life well lived; and (d) questions surrounding religion, the afterlife, and possibility of deathbed conversion. In light of the claim that ours is a culture in search of an ars moriendi, the article examines what we can learn from Hitchens’ auto/pathographic interviews (and writings) and the extent to which this rational-humanist, atheistic, and stoical style of dying provides a useable “template” for others nearing the end of life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the author's post peer review version of an article, the final version will appear in the Sage Publications journal OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying
Keywords: Ars Moriendi Auto/Pathography Cancer Christopher Hitchens Public Dying
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Social Science
Depositing User: Kimberley Berry
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2016 15:18
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2016 12:45
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1020

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