Death, Bodies, and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Smoke-Gets-in-Your-EyesWhen I was an adjunct English professor I especially enjoyed an assigned reading on all the strange and, let’s be honest, disturbing things morticians do to a body after death. In the United States, the practices surrounding death, wakes, and funerals are strange to say the least. In short, making a person’s body fit for viewing days after decay has begun is no easy task. Blood’s gotta go. Eyelids need to stay shut. Makeup is required. Continue reading

From Beatrice to Romanticism

Dante and BeatriceMy family named our new puppy Beatrice. Not after “Tris” of Divergent fame, but after Beatrice Portinari—Dante’s inspiration and the celestial muse of The Divine Comedy.

I was an undergraduate when I first read Dante with delight, but in my subsequent study of Romanticism I found that Dante was also a favorite in the nineteenth century. Continue reading