The pie list swelled; the richer puddings had vanished; the sausage, with his drapery wrapped about him, barely lingered in a pleasant thanatopsis
with the buckwheats and the sweet but doomed maple.
1) In Gopher Prairie there is Thanatopsis
= Greek "vision of death"; a name that was probably suggested by the poem which William Cullen Bryant, aged sixteen, wrote after reading Robert Blair's The Grave and William Cowper's The Task): this is the main cultural force of the city, led by the most eminent ladies, who attend conferences on the English poets.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, Thanatopsis
, in THE POETICAL WORKS OF WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT 21, 21 (D.
9) John Lennon and Malcolm Foley, Dark Tourism: the Attraction of Death and Disaster (London: Continuum, 2000); Valene Smith, "War and Tourism: an American Ethnography," Annals of Tourism Research 25 (1998): 202-227; Anthony Seaton, "From Thanatopsis
to Thanatourism: Guided by the Dark," Journal of International Heritage Studies 2 (1996): 234-244.
The term derives from the ancient Greek, thanatopsis
, which means 'contemplation of death'.
The capsule held more than 50 items, including a piece of wood from Independence Hall, a copy of Thanatopsis
, an 1818 poem by William Cullen Bryant said to be the first to contain the word Oregon, and a souvenir badge welcoming the President to Portland.
Ishmael experiences other tropes or turnings from his thanatopsis
mood, as when in the Spouter Inn he is terrified by the prospect of a cannibalistic, harpoon-toting savage for his bedmate, only to find a bosom friend who indirectly saves his life; as when in the chapel, staring at signs of his seemingly foreordained death in the black-bordered tablets commemorating sailors lost at sea, he finds unaccountably that his "Faith, like a jackal, [that] feeds among the tombs, [.
And finally, it means to give oneself back to the place, as the speaker affirms in the opening lines; elsewhere Berry expresses this ecological thanatopsis
as "slowly falling / into the fund of things .
Guided by the Dark: From Thanatopsis