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By Loring M. Danforth

This compelling textual content and dramatic photographic essay exhibit the emotional energy of the dying rituals of a small Greek village--the funeral, the making a song of laments, the distribution of nutrients, the day-by-day visits to the graves, and particularly the ceremony of exhumation. those rituals support Greek villagers face the common paradox of mourning: how can the residing maintain relationships with the useless and even as carry them to an finish, that allows you to proceed to stay meaningfully as participants of a group? that's the villagers' problem, and our personal. Thirty-one relocating images (reproduced in duotone to do justice to their nice attractiveness) mix with bright descriptions of the bereaved girls of "Potamia" and with the phrases of the funeral laments to permit the reader an strange emotional identity with the folks of rural Greece as they fight to combine the adventure of dying into their day-by-day lives.

Loring M. Danforth's delicate use of symbolic and structural research enhances his dialogue of the social context during which those rituals take place. He explores vital topics in rural Greek existence, comparable to the location of girls, styles of reciprocity and legal responsibility, and the character of social family members in the family.

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Example text

In Potamia there are several widowers who remarried a little more than forty days after their wives' deaths. A house in which a person has died is often marked by strips of black cloth placed diagonally across the door and windows. No singing or dancing is allowed in the house, and traditional holidays, such as Easter and Christmas, are not - celebrated. Those in mourning are separated from the world of the living because of their contact with the world of the dead. Their seclusion is not onlv an exmession of their own liminality, but also a reflection of the isolation of the corpse lying buried in the ground.

Tiazi, nie6ixa p', 6i: hahais; -Ti va hahqao; Ti va nG; N-&+quazq pavodha pov Gixwg napla naeqyoe~a. Mqv xhais, pavodha pov yhvxla, GREEK FUNERAL L A M E N T S nai pqv n a ~ a n o v ~ i a a ~ . 'H ~ 6 x 7pa5 zi, Eyeava, pava p', va X O Q ~ ~ T O C ~ E . %el, phva p', 0x6 anin pas, adel nai azi, nahb pas. Down by the river Dhafnos, by the dense rose bushes, there three partridges are singing. But one partridge isn't singing. " "Why should I sing? What should I say? I abandoned my mother without any solace.

Is cruelly resolved. Here at last is inescapable proof that the person who was buried five years earlier no longer exists. He has been reduced to bones. EXHUMATION and burial are two important episodes in the rites of passage associated with death in rural Greece. As such, an important logical relationship exists between them. The exhumation is a negative transformation of the burial, which is itself a negation of life. The exhumation is not, however, a negation of death, because the process of decomposition cannot be reversed.

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