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Ebook The Hour of Our Death by Philippe Ariès read! Book Title: The Hour of Our Death
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Reader ratings: 7.7
The author of the book: Philippe Ariès
Edition: Knopf
Date of issue: February 12th 1981
ISBN: 0394410742
ISBN 13: 9780394410746
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 558 KB

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This remarkable book—the fruit of almost two decades of study—traces in compelling fashion the changes in Western attitudes toward death and dying from the earliest Christian times to the present day. A truly landmark study, The Hour of Our Death reveals a pattern of gradually developing evolutionary stages in our perceptions of life in relation to death, each stage representing a virtual redefinition of human nature.
Starting at the very foundations of Western culture, the eminent historian Phillipe Aries shows how, from Graeco-Roman times through the first ten centuries of the Common Era, death was too common to be frightening; each life was quietly subordinated to the community, which paid its respects and then moved on. Aries identifies the first major shift in attitude with the turn of the eleventh century when a sense of individuality began to rise and with it, profound consequences: death no longer meant merely the weakening of community, but rather the destruction of self. Hence the growing fear of the afterlife, new conceptions of the Last Judgment, and the first attempts (by Masses and other rituals) to guarantee a better life in the next world. In the 1500s attention shifted from the demise of the self to that of the loved one (as family supplants community), and by the nineteenth century death comes to be viewed as simply a staging post toward reunion in the hereafter. Finally, Aries shows why death has become such an unendurable truth in our own century—how it has been nearly banished from our daily lives—and points out what may be done to "re-tame" this secret terror.
The richness of Aries's source material and investigative work is breathtaking. While exploring everything from churches, religious rituals, and graveyards (with their often macabre headstones and monuments), to wills and testaments, love letters, literature, paintings, diaries, town plans, crime and sanitation reports, and grave robbing complaints, Aries ranges across Europe to Russia on the one hand and to England and America on the other. As he sorts out the tangled mysteries of our accumulated terrors and beliefs, we come to understand the history—indeed the pathology—of our intellectual and psychological tensions in the face of death.

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Ebook The Hour of Our Death read Online! Philippe Ariès (21 July 1914 – 8 February 1984) was a French medievalist and historian of the family and childhood, in the style of Georges Duby. He wrote many books on the common daily life. His most prominent works regarded the change in the western attitudes towards death.

Ariès regarded himself as an "anarchist of the right". He was initially close to the Action française but later distanced himself from it, as he viewed it as too authoritarian, hence his self-description as an "anarchist". Ariès also contributed to La Nation française, a royalist review. However, he also co-operated with many left-wing French historians, especially with Michel Foucault, who wrote his obituary.

During his life, his work was often better known in the English-speaking world than it was in France itself. He is known above all for his book L’Enfant et la Vie Familiale sous l’Ancien Régime (1960), which was translated into English as Centuries of Childhood (1962). This book is pre-eminent in the history of childhood, as it was essentially the first book on the subject (although some antiquarian texts were earlier). Even today, Ariès remains the standard reference to the topic. Ariès is most famous for his statement that "in medieval society, the idea of childhood did not exist". Its central thesis is that attitudes towards children were progressive and evolved over time with economic change and social advancement, until childhood, as a concept and an accepted part of family life, from the 17th century. It was thought that children were too weak to be counted and that they could disappear at any time. However, children were considered as adults as soon as they could live alone.

The book has had mixed fortunes. His contribution was profoundly significant both in that it recognised childhood as a social construction rather than as a biological given and in that it founded the history of childhood as a serious field of study. At the same time, his account of childhood has by now been widely criticised.

Ariès is likewise remembered for his invention of another field of study: the history of attitudes to death and dying. Ariès saw death, like childhood, as a social construction. His seminal work in this ambit is L'Homme devant la mort (1977), his last major book, published in the same year when his status as a historian was finally recognised by his induction into the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), as a directeur d'études.

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