In Search of the Good Death

Examining our changing relationship with the afterlife

Landis Blair (courtesy W. W. Norton)
Landis Blair (courtesy W. W. Norton)

Caitlin Doughty is the death professional behind the Internet’s favorite show about death, Ask a Mortician, and founder of the Order of the Good Death, which works to overcome our culture’s anxiety about dying, grief, and the afterlife. She runs her own funeral home, Undertaking LA, which offers alternatives to traditional, formaldehyde-soaked approaches to burial. In her book From Here to Eternity, she travels the world in search of the good death, from Mexico and North Carolina to Japan and Bolivia, learning about the ways in which other cultures have approached the end of life. We originally spoke to her in 2017, digging in to the subjects of corpse interaction, alternatives to the casket, and what death means to her.

Go beyond the episode:

A selection of Landis Blair’s illustrations of scenes in South Sulawesi, Tokyo, and La Paz:

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

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Music featured from Master Toad (“Dreadful Mansion”), Dead End Canada (“Witch Hunt”), and 8bit Betty (“Spooky Loop”), courtesy of the Free Music Archive. Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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