OVER MY DEAD BODY: Unearthing the Hidden Histories of America’s Cemeteries (Virtual)
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October 13 • 7:00 pm
Join author Greg Melville and Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation Director Beverly Lucas for a lively tour through the history of US cemeteries that explores how, where, and why we bury our dead.
The summer before his senior year in college, Greg Melville worked at the cemetery in his hometown, and thanks to hour upon hour of pushing a mower over the grassy acres, he came to realize what a rich story the place told of his town and its history. Thus was born Melville’s lifelong curiosity with how, where, and why we bury and commemorate our dead.
Melville’s Over My Dead Body is a lively (pun intended) and wide-ranging history of cemeteries, places that have mirrored the passing eras in history but have also shaped it. Cemeteries have given birth to landscape architecture and famous parks, as well as influenced architectural styles. They’ve inspired and motivated some of our greatest poets and authors—Emerson, Whitman, and Dickinson. They’ve been used as political tools to shift the country’s discourse and as important symbols of the United States’ ambition and reach.
But they are changing and fading. Embalming and burial is incredibly toxic, and while cremations have just recently surpassed burials in popularity, they’re not great for the environment either. Over My Dead Body explores everything—history, sustainability, land use, and more—and what it really means to memorialize.
FREE virtual event, although donations are gratefully accepted. REGISTER HERE.
Copies of OVER MY DEAD BODY signed by the author are available for purchase through the Mark Twain Store; proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum. Books will be shipped after the event. We regret that we are NOT able to ship books outside the United States as it is cost-prohibitive to do so.
About the Author:
Greg Melville has worked as an outdoor journalist and a former editor at Men’s Journal and Hearst magazines. He has strong connections with magazines and newspapers, and his writing has appeared in Outside, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Health, and the Boston Globe Magazine.
His work was also listed in The Best American Sportswriting 2017. He is a decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan and is in the Navy Reserve, where he is a public affairs officer, with the rank of lieutenant commander. He has taught English and writing at the United States Naval Academy, where he was given the school’s Instructor of the Year Award in 2019, and journalism at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He lives with his wife and two kids in Delaware.
About the Moderator:
Beverly Lucas is the Director of Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation, Hartford, Connecticut. She manages public programming, development, marketing, and preservation activities at the historic cemetery. Prior to Cedar Hill, she worked in the museum field including at Connecticut Landmarks and Wethersfield Historical Society.
Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from CT Humanities; the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign; The Hartford; The Mark Twain Foundation; The National Endowment for the Humanities; and Travelers. For more information call 860-247-0998 or visit marktwainhouse.org.