He holds a scythe, quiet whistling weapon, a graceful curve beside his netherworld cloak. He masquerades as a “thief in the night”, prowling the unlocked windows of both the innocent and knowing. He is an angel of the Near East. He is the swallower of heroes. The sly coyote of desert-footed scrubs. He is a famously-unhinged box. He is a shorted fuse. A slowly-applied brake. A misplaced match. A tired heart. A flying bullet. He is a major motion picture star. No matter the guise, no matter the myth, Death is the great equalizer of mankind. Although we function in a world of present-mindedness and invincible ethos, in the quiet corners of our busy brains we can still sense the end to our linear existence; some point in the unknown distance that can glow like coals in the heat of the most dire moments of hum-drum disruption. Death is no stranger, and our dealings with this unifying personification of inevitable Earth biology have weighed on our minds for innumerable generations. Especially during times of war (which is to say, all the time).
Join The Filson’s Director of Research, Dr A. Glenn Crothers, in a book discussion following Death’s trail through American history. Following the ideas explored in Drew Gilpin Faust’s book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Dr. Crothers will guide a group through the impact of death through one of America’s bloodiest conflicts. At a time when thousands of men fell in the fields of battle, Americans were forced to face both the emotional and practical terms of death as the enormous toll of the deceased rose almost daily.
The author of Quakers Living in the Lions Mouth: The Society of Friends in Northern Virginia, 1730-1863, Crothers is also an associate Professor in History at the University of Louisville and well-versed in the time-period of death and destruction from both a local and a national perspective. The discussion of Death’s doorway in history’s timeline will begin at 3:30pm and will be held this Wednesday, June 6th; reservations are required – although your place in Fate’s mighty book is already saved.
The Filson Historical Society is located at 1310 South Third Street
Image: Courtesy of www.amazon.com