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Companionship in Grief
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summary
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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
  2. pp. iii-iii
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  1. Copyright Page
  2. pp. iv-iv
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. vii-vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-ix
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  1. Introduction: “The Lost Other Is an Ongoing Part of Our Existence”
  2. pp. 1-19
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  1. One: C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman: “Never Have I Loved Her More than since She Was Struck Down”
  2. pp. 20-61
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  1. Two: John Bayley and Iris Murdoch: “In Widowhood You Lose Not Only Your Loved One but Much of Yourself ”
  2. pp. 62-112
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  1. Three: Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon “Art Is Created against Death”
  2. pp. 113-156
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  1. Four: Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne: “Life Changes in the Instant”
  2. pp. 157-213
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  1. Five: Calvin Trillin and Alice Stewart Trillin: “I Wrote Everything for Alice”
  2. pp. 214-250
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  1. Conclusion: “It Is Possible to Be Bereft and Not Bereft Simultaneously”
  2. pp. 251-261
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 263-275
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 277-284
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  1. Back Cover
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