Life at the End of Life (Book)
Finding Words Beyond Words
Artist and scholar Marcia Brennan serves as Artist in Residence at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and the experience of seeing, close-up, the transitional states and transformational visions involved in the approaching end of life raised countless questions about the intersection of life, death and art.
Those questions are at the heart of this unique book. Bridging disparate fields, including art history, medical humanities and religious studies, Life at the End of Life explores the ways in which art can provide a means for rendering otherwise abstract, deeply personal and spiritual experiences vividly concrete and communicable, even as they remain open-ended and transcendent. In the face of death, suffering and uncertainty, Brennan shows how artistic expression can offer valuable aesthetic and metaphysical avenues for understanding and for making meaning.
Marcia Brennan is professor of art history and religion at Rice University.
An Opening Word: Just Read the Stories
Part I: Painting the Stories: Applied Aesthetics and the Living Epiphany
Chapter One Between Water and Sky: The Artist In Residence in the Clinical Context
Chapter Two: Seeing Only Beauty When There’s Nothing Left to See: Creative Expressions and Epiphanic Consciousness
Chapter Three: The Circle Gets Bigger and the Light Gets Brighter: Collaborative Intersections Between Medicine and the Humanities
II: Interwovenness with the World
Chapter Four: If You Want Love: Continuity and Creation in Domestic Genre Scenes
Chapter Five: The Canopy of Birds: Interwovenness with the Natural World
Chapter Six: Like Pearls: Muslim Spirituality and Worlds Between Worlds
Part III: Interwovenness with One Another
Chapter Seven: The Wisdom in an Eagle’s Eye: Seeing Beyond the Dualism of the Conventional Medical Model
Chapter Eight: We Were Dancing Alone: Weddings and Marriages at the End of Life
Chapter Nine: The Gossamer Thread: Parents and Children
Part IV: Transformative Visions: The Death That Saved Our Lives
Chapter Ten: With Our Candelabra Burning: Materialism, Trash, and Transvaluation
Chapter Eleven: The Stars Came Down to Meet Me: Viable Subjects and Visionary Consciousness
Chapter Twelve: Here Comes the Next Breath: End of Life Visions and Near-Death Experiences