Companionship in Grief: Love and Loss in the Memoirs of C. S. Lewis, John Bayley, Donald Hall, Joan Didion, and Calvin Trillin (Paperback)

Companionship in Grief: Love and Loss in the Memoirs of C. S. Lewis, John Bayley, Donald Hall, Joan Didion, and Calvin Trillin By Jeffrey Berman Cover Image

Companionship in Grief: Love and Loss in the Memoirs of C. S. Lewis, John Bayley, Donald Hall, Joan Didion, and Calvin Trillin (Paperback)

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In Companionship in Grief, Jeffrey Berman focuses on the most life-changing event for many people—the death of a spouse. Some of the most acclaimed memoirs of the past fifty years offer insights into this profound loss: C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed; John Bayley's three memoirs about Iris Murdoch, including Elegy for Iris; Donald Hall's The Best Day the Worst Day; Joan Didion's best-selling The Year of Magical Thinking; and Calvin Trillin's About Alice. These books explore the nature of spousal bereavement, the importance of caregiving, the role of writing in recovery, and the possibility of falling in love again after a devastating loss. Throughout his study, Berman traces the theme of love and loss in all five memoirists' fictional and nonfictional writings as well as in those of their spouses, who were also accomplished writers. Combining literary studies, grief and bereavement theory, attachment theory, composition studies, and trauma theory, Companionship in Grief will appeal to anyone who has experienced love and loss. Berman's research casts light on five remarkable marriages, showing how autobiographical stories of love and loss can memorialize deceased spouses and offer wisdom and comfort to readers.
Jeffrey Berman is professor of English at the University at Albany. His previous books include Risky Writing: Self-Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom; Surviving Literary Suicide; and Diaries to an English Professor: Pain and Growth in the Classroom.
Product Details ISBN: 9781558498044
ISBN-10: 1558498044
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication Date: September 7th, 2010
Pages: 296
Language: English
"Jeffrey Berman's examination of each partner's writings gives this book its unique perspective. I know of no other work like his in thanatology; Companionship in Grief will make a significant contribution to persons interested in death, dying, and bereavement."—David Balk, editor-in-chief, Handbook of Thanatology: The Essential Body of Knowledge for the Study of Death, Dying, and Bereavement

"This is a book that will be interesting to theorists of grief and grieving and to critics of contemporary British and American literature while at the same time appealing to general readers who have themselves experienced crucial losses—or fear them."—Sandra M. Gilbert, author of Death's Door: Modern Dying and the Way We Grieve

"In this unique, carefully researched volume, Berman examines memoirs written by well-known authors in response to the loss of a spouse who, in each case, was also a published writer."—Choice

"Berman offers spousal loss memoirs as evidence of the transformational potential of writing grief. His work will appeal to a wide range of readers in various relationships to grief: teachers, counselors, scholars, people experiencing grief. . . . Loss changes us, but Berman finds in the accounts of others' losses a source of hope that he too will make it through the uneven terrain of grief--a possibility he freely offers to his readers through the memoirs he presents as guides."—Biography