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Notre Dame Press Celebrates the Spooky Season

Notre Dame Press publishes the work of scholars in a wide range of disciplines, from history and theology to literature and anthropology. This October, as we near Halloween, we’re excited to spotlight five particular titles that probe fascinating questions about death, ghosts, and faith. 

A Reader

Edited by Mary Ann G. Cutter

Using primary sources and engaging commentary, Mary Ann Cutter’s Death: A Reader offers an excellent introduction to global understandings of death originating from Asia, the Near and Middle East, and the West. 

“Death is an event that all human beings face in their lives, both vicariously in the deaths of other persons and personally in their own death. . . . Death: A Reader offers a good, culturally and philosophically balanced first point of entry to exploring various philosophical and religious perspectives on death.”

Catholic Library World

Lives of the Sleepers
by Ned Balbo

From Dante’s circles of hell to a Hitchcock movie, the characters in the Lives of the Sleepers navigate the ecstasy and grief of love across time, dimension, and place. Balbo’s award-winning poetry collection beautifully unites the voices of the contemporary and the historical. 

“Among Balbo’s most significant achievements in this volume is the way he inspects humanity from a biological perspective. He often reveals what is most human (loss, love, transformation, moral deformity) by writing with scientific exactness about bees, birds, and banana slugs. . . Balbo creates a collection distinguished for its eloquent merging of the historic, the biological, and the mythic.”

American Book Review

The Uses of Darkness:
Women’s Underworld Journeys, Ancient and Modern

by Laurie Brands Gagné

By drawing upon the goddess tradition, Laurie Brands Gagné’s The Uses of Darkness details the reclamation of wisdom and sensuality in the spiritual journeys of mythical women.

“Gagné explores women’s psychological and spiritual journeys through the lens of three ancient myths and modern literature. . . . Those unfamiliar with the literature that Gagné refers to will have limited appreciation of the study—those who know it will find her work masterful.”


Ghosts of the Somme:
Commemoration and Culture War in Northern Ireland

by Jonathan Evershed

Jonathan Evershed’s Ghosts of the Somme effectively examines the complex social, cultural, political, and economic forces underpinning the Ulster Loyalist commemoration of the Battle of the Somme in Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries. 

“. . . a thoughtful and provocative exploration of Loyalist discourses of memory in the new (post-Belfast Agreement) Northern Ireland. . . there is no denying that Evershed has written something introspective and unique.”

Irish Political Studies

by Gregory Mellema

With an accessible and lively voice, Gregory Mellema’s Sin presents a diverse collection of writing on topics related to sin that range from the Islamic code of ethics to the doctrine of original sin.

“Mellema suggests that we understand the Christian idea of original sin as a kind of ‘moral taint’ – that contemporary human beings ‘can be tainted by the evil acts of others to whom they are connected…’ even if they themselves are not responsible for those actions.”

Times Literary Supplement

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