The Black Mirror Looking at Life through Death A physician philosopher celebrates the mystery and delight of everyday life from an imagined posthumous perspective In this beautifully written personal meditation on life and living Raymond Tallis r

  • Title: The Black Mirror: Looking at Life through Death
  • Author: Raymond Tallis
  • ISBN: 9780300217001
  • Page: 167
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A physician philosopher celebrates the mystery and delight of everyday life from an imagined posthumous perspective In this beautifully written personal meditation on life and living, Raymond Tallis reflects on the fundamental fact of existence that it is finite Inspired by E M Forster s thought that Death destroys a man but the idea of it saves him, Tallis invitesA physician philosopher celebrates the mystery and delight of everyday life from an imagined posthumous perspective In this beautifully written personal meditation on life and living, Raymond Tallis reflects on the fundamental fact of existence that it is finite Inspired by E M Forster s thought that Death destroys a man but the idea of it saves him, Tallis invites readers to look back on their lives from a unique standpoint one s own future corpse From this perspective, he shows, the world now vacated can be seen most clearly in all its richness and complexity Tallis blends lyrical reflection, humor, and the occasional philosophical argument as he explores his own postmortem recollections He considers the biological processes and the senses that opened up his late world and the million nooked space in which he passed his life His inert, dispossessed body highlights his ceaseless activity in life, the mind boggling inventory of his possessions, and the togetherness and apartness that characterized his relationships in the material and social worlds Tallis also touches on the idea of a posthumous life in the memories of those who outlive him Readers who accompany Tallis as he considers his life through death will appreciate with new intensity the precariousness and preciousness of life, for here he succeeds in his endeavor to make the shining hour shine brightly.

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    About “Raymond Tallis

    1. Raymond Tallis says:

      Professor Raymond Tallis is a philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic and was until recently a physician and clinical scientist In the Economist s Intelligent Life Magazine Autumn 2009 he was listed as one of the top living polymaths in the world.Born in Liverpool in 1946, one of five children, he trained as a doctor at Oxford University and at St Thomas in London before going on to become Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester and a consultant physician in Health Care of the Elderly in Salford Professor Tallis retired from medicine in 2006 to become a full time writer, though he remained Visiting Professor at St George s Hospital Medical School, University of London until 2008.Prior to his retirement from medicine to devote himself to writing, Raymond Tallis had responsibility for acute and rehabilitation patients and took part in the on call rota for acute medical emergencies He also ran a unique specialist epilepsy service for older people Amongst his 200 or so medical publications are two major textbooks The Clinical Neurology of Old Age Wiley, 1988 and the comprehensive Brocklehurst s Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology Harcourt Brace, co edited with Howard Fillitt, 6th edition, 2003 Most of his research publications were in the field of neurology of old age and neurological rehabilitation He has published original articles in Nature Medicine, Lancet and other leading journals Two of his papers were the subject of leading articles in Lancet In 2000 Raymond Tallis was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of his contribution to medical research in 2002 he was awarded the Dhole Eddlestone Prize for his contribution to the medical literature on elderly people and in 2006 he received the Founders Medal of the British Geriatrics Society In July 2007, he received the Lord Cohen Gold Medal for Research into Ageing, and in November 2011 he was honoured with the International League Against Epilepsy s Special Excellence in Epilepsy Award He is a Patron of Dignity in Dying.Over the last 20 years Raymond Tallis has published fiction, three volumes of poetry, and 23 books on the philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, literary theory, the nature of art and cultural criticism Together with over two hundred articles in Prospect, Times Literary Supplement and many other outlets, these books offer a critique of current predominant intellectual trends and an alternative understanding of human consciousness, the nature of language and of what it is to be a human being For this work, Professor Tallis has been awarded three honorary degrees DLitt Hon Causa from the University of Hull in 1997 LittD Hon Causa at the University of Manchester 2002 and Doc Med SC, St George s Hospital 2015 He was Visiting Professor of English at the University of Liverpool until 2013.Raymond Tallis makes regular appearances at Hay, Cheltenham, Edinburgh and other book festivals, and lectures widely.Raymond Tallis s national roles have included Consultant Advisor in Health Care of the Elderly to the Chief Medical Officer a key part in developing National Service Framework for Older People, in particular the recommendations of developing services for people with strokes membership of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence Appraisal Committee Chairmanship of the Royal College of Physicians Committee on Ethics in Medicine Chairman of the committee reviewing ethics support for front line clinicians and membership of the Working Party producing a seminal report Doctors in Society, Medical Professionalism in a Changing World 2005 From July 2011 to October 2014 he was the elected Chair, Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying HPAD.In 2012 he was a member of the judges panel for the Samuel Johnson Prize.In 2015 he judged the Notting Hill Essay prize.



    2 thoughts on “The Black Mirror: Looking at Life through Death

    1. (2.5) “No man is an island but every corpse is.” I was intrigued by the idea of a philosopher writing his own advanced obituary, and although this is interesting in places, as Tallis reflects on the connections and achievements he valued in life, it goes on far too long. At 150 or even 200 pages it could have been a compact meditation on death, but at nearly 350 it’s merely indulgent. “All RT’s passion – and action – is spent. The total of his agency, his minute tweaking of the cou [...]

    2. Tallis writes with great dexterity and inventiveness, and has plenty of substance to impart in this retrospective on life. During the first half, I became frustrated by prolonged descriptions of material trivia – he was giving me the trees when I wanted the wood. But there is more profound stuff in the second half – relationships, memories, regrets, the sense of the self – and Tallis justifies his choices convincingly in the final coda. The edition I read had an odd typo in the quotation t [...]

    3. This is no easy read if you are not used to philosophical discussions. The writing is beautiful and thought-provoking, but even a seasoned reader will likely need a dictionary next to them to help with some of the less common words. Overall, I thought the concept was interesting and beautifully written.**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

    4. I love the way Raymond Tallis takes the personal details of his life and imagined death and translates them into something that felt relatable to all. He uses language that doesn't have you running for a dictionary every paragraph, uses tonnes of imagery, as he is also a poet. Reading this book (I don't read much philosophy) makes me feel both reassured and enlightened.

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