Scott McLemee on the passing of Jim Carroll and Ricoeur’s Living Up to Death

September 17, 2009
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jacket imageWith the flurry of celebrity deaths appearing in the newspapers lately you might think the grim reaper had taken up residence in Hollywood for the season, but in an article for the September 16th Inside Higher Ed Scott McLemee takes note of the passing of a pop cultural icon from the opposite coast in a piece that uses the recent death of author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician Jim Carroll as a segue into an insightful review of Paul Ricoeur’s Living Up to Death—the philosopher’s posthumously published meditation on the subject of mortality.
Consisting of one complete essay likely inspired by his wife’s approaching death in 1996, and a series of fragments written during the author’s own final days, as McLemee notes, the material in Living up to Death is less focused upon an individual’s personal experience of dying as it is about “how an individual’s death echoes in the memory of others”—a topic particularly relevant to the passing of so many, Jim Carroll included, whose work will likely live on well past their deaths. So for a slightly more insightful perspective on death and dying than most articles on “The Summer of Celebrity Deaths” are likely to offer, read McLemee’s article on the Inside Higher Ed website, and pick up a copy of Ricoeur’s Living up to Death.

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