With intense and violent portrayals of death becoming ever more common on television and in cinema and the growth of death-centric movies, series, texts, songs, and video clips attracting a wide and enthusiastic global reception, we might well ask whether death has ceased to be a taboo. What makes thanatic themes so desirable in popular culture? Do representations of the macabre and gore perpetuate or sublimate violent desires? Has contemporary popular culture removed our unease with death? Can social media help us cope with our mortality, or can music and art present death as an aesthetic phenomenon? This volume adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the discussion of the social, cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical aspects of the ways in which popular culture understands, represents, and manages death, bringing together contributions from around the world focused on television, cinema, popular literature, social media and the internet, art, music, and advertising.

chapter |12 pages


Death as a topic in contemporary popular culture

part 1|68 pages

Collective attitudes towards and responses to death and mortality

chapter 1|23 pages

Thoughts for the times on the death taboo

Trivialization, tivolization, and re-domestication in the age of spectacular death

chapter 2|13 pages

‘A stark and lonely death’

Representations of dying alone in popular culture 1

chapter 4|16 pages

The Penguin and the Wahine

Shipwrecks, resilience, and popular culture

part 2|68 pages

Aesthetical aspects and mythical structures

chapter 5|20 pages

Healing comes from paradise

Illness, cures, and the staving off of death in naturist remedies advertising

chapter 7|17 pages

Into the dark side of Pop Art

From Warhol to Banksy

chapter 8|16 pages

Towards a cultural theory of killing

The event of killing in Quentin Tarantino’s movies

part 3|88 pages

Death as a significant narrative device

chapter 9|24 pages

‘The radio said, “there’s another shot dead#x201D;’

Popular culture, ‘rebel’ songs, and death in Irish memory

chapter 11|23 pages

Death in Don DeLillo’s White Noise

A literary diagnosis of contemporary death culture