Cover image for Remembrances and celebrations : a book of eulogies, elegies, letters, and epitaphs
Remembrances and celebrations : a book of eulogies, elegies, letters, and epitaphs
Harris, Jill Werman.
Publication Information:
New York : Pantheon Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 308 pages ; 22 cm
Subject Term:

Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CT105 .H69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
CT105 .H69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
CT105 .H69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This is a collection of powerful and inspirational responses to loss and to the age-old impulse to honor and memorialize the uniqueness of each human being.

For the bereaved, the ritual of delivering a eulogy can seem insurmountably difficult. Remembrances and Celebrations provides gentle guidance in this profoundly important task, with a wide range of examples of memorial tributes and expressions of bereavement drawn from both the famous and the obscure, from ancient times to the present.

Here are the words of famous lovers: Henry Miller's homage to Anais Nin, Lillian Hellman's eulogy for Dashiell Hammett. Here are fallen heroes commemorated, in the heartfelt words of Yitzhak Rabin's granddaughter at his funeral, in Ossie Davis's farewell to Malcolm X, in Earl Spencer's tribute to the Princess of Wales. Here, too, are moving letters: Charles Dickens to his wife on the death of their daughter, Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson on his daughter's death, an anonymous Royal Air Force pilot to his mother on the eve of his final battle.

Auden's "Funeral Blues" is here, along with the Cavafy poem recited by Maurice Tempelsman at Jacqueline Onassis' service. And there is room for humor as well, as in Hilaire Belloc's famous epitaph, "When I am dead, I hope it may be said, 'His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'"

Remembrances and Celebrations is a comforting and affecting anthology of the literature of mourning, and a welcome aid in times of our own bereavement.

Author Notes

Jill Werman Harris lives in New York City.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Comprised of eulogies from the 20th century, as well as, poetic elegies, condolence letters and tombstone epitaphs spanning from the 17th century to the present, this eclectic sourcebook offers inspiration for anyone seeking to memorialize a loved one. Since the mourners and the dead in each instance are well-known writers (Lillian Hellman eulogizes Dashiell Hammett) and public figures (Reverend Jesse Jackson lays Jackie Robinson to rest), the collection is a bonanza for the morbidly minded browser as well. The authors vary in skill, but all of the tributes are characterized by genuine feelings of loss. Outstanding examples include Wallace Stegner's moving eulogy for his mother and Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof's simple, passionate declaration of love for her grandfather, Yitzhak Rabin. Many of the condolence letters are of historical interest, such as Abigail Adams's condolences to her estranged friend Thomas Jefferson upon the death of his daughter. Also included is the letter accused spy Ethel Rosenberg wrote to her sons on the day she and her husband were executed. Whereas most of the elegies by poets Dickinson, Longfellow and others are consoling, some of the inscriptions in the short selection of epitaphs provide a dose of leavening humor: "Here lie my husbands One Two Three, Dumb as men could ever be." (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved