FORWARD by CAGLIASTRO “The Dealings with the dead, since the world began, furnish matter for curious speculation. What has seemed meet or right, in one age or nation, has appeared absurd or even monstrous in another.” Dealings With The Dead Volume One, 1856 This quote from the work is a doorway into the world of, and subtext of this work. One must understand that Death is both personal and yet the great leveler. The writer(s) of this book are looking at the world in which they live, the world of the work of a Sexton. The handling of remains with which one has a relationship is the way things were done when Funeral Directors were close members of small town communities. This is greatly changed in the current climate of transient living and communities filled with passer-byes... In this work, references to the honor of closing the eyes and mouths of the dead and how that activity has been associated to historical entities such as Agamemnon’s ghost, place the importance of these activities in focus. Interesting anecdotal bits of information such as the bodies of debtors were seized by creditors, hair was placed on the door of houses that were mourning their dead, bodies were anointed with precious oils where the law permitted, details of the floral head and ear decorations of chieftains, dressing warriors for the afterlife of fight, allowing the dead to decay on high shelves away from the carrion community and so many other traditions are mentioned herein. Epitaphs with social commentary such as “I dare believe that four in five would think his better half alive.” ...intermixed with religious comments etched by hand into marble by the devout, express the diverse community in which a Sexton functioned. The 1810 “disgusting confusion” within the Paris Catacombs, discussing human bones as “broken tea cups wisely kept for show”, how stolen goods and great mounds of cremains, empty tombs attached by creditors, fears of being buried alive, the burial of hermits all play into the relatively common desire to find peaceful repose for the dead. This is an on-going theme in this volume.... The language of the time, 1856, such as the discussion of people as slaves, the speech of racial separatism in life and in burial and the use of words which reflect on primitivism remind the reader of the time in which this work was written. Juxtaposed to the archaic presentation of those comments are the ones that circle the still common requirement for dignity formed through cultural relevance for the final treatment of one’s dead.... The Sexton of the Old School has written more than one volume. This one, the first of the series, is the one which has not been re-published. It is not the simplest to read as the only copies are highly yellowed. Take your time and understand that you are looking at history. I will offer the other volumes at some point....however, for now....enjoy this treatment of the life of one who’s work is Dealings with the Dead..... CAGLIASTRO
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Book Description North Sea Tales, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0692596054