Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature and chair of the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. He is the author of The Body of Beatrice and Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.
"This is the best book ever written about the cultural meaning of burial, our need to remember the dead (hence our need for history), and the deeper than etymological link between the human and the humus." - Jonathan Bate, Times Literary Supplement; "A guide to the care of self (and society) through an analysis of the care for the dead, written in a manner that is inimitable, provocative and intellectually compelling." - Publishers Weekly; "A significant and learned treatise on something that should concern all of us." - Jack Matthews, Washington Times; "A penetrating look into the realm of the dead." - Bernadette Murphy, Los Angeles Times Book Review; "Harrison... has a rare poetic intelligence that does not shrink from speculative immensity.... In a kind of literary seance, the voices of the dead - poets like Swinburne and Homer, writers like Conrad and Joyce, philosophers like Vico and Heidegger - shape the text.... By the end one begins to think differently about the living as well as the dead." - Edward Rothstein, New York Times; "A daring and ambitious book.... The subject is one in which the reader participates, and it will not end as long as there is someone to ponder it." - W. S. Merwin, New York Review of Books"