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About the translation of Douglas Davies’ book
Douglas J. Davies, Morte,
riti, credenze. La retorica del rito funebre
In the Autumn of 2000, the Fabretti Foundation edited Giuliana Fubini’s translation into Italian of Douglas Davies’ book, Death, Ritual, Belief. The rethoric of funeral rite with the title Morte, riti, credenze. La retorica del rito funebre (Turin, Paravia-Scriptorium 2000). This is a very important work, especially in Italy where no other book on this topic has been published so far. Davies’ central thesis is that funeral rites (and in particular their verbal aspect, that is ‘words against death’) aim to transcend death and to strengthen a positive response towards life continuity by individuals and by society. Davies’ theory is based on his having examined a great amount of documentation, widely ranging from a chronological point of view as well as from a geographic one. Therefore, in describing a vast range of funeral rites in different cultures from all over the world, the author goes, at the same time, through all the major anthropological theories on the function of funeral rites. His personal interpretation of their function – based on anthropologist Maurice Bloch’s theory – is that funeral rites are a sort of ‘victory’ on death itself on the part of society.