Whether Inspiring, Incomprehensible, insightful, bleak, or absurd, last words can be spoken by the living as well as the dying. Among the dying, last words are truly final, as was the case with Dylan Thomas, who uttered "I've just had eighteen straight whiskeys. I think that's the record." Famous Last Words records the parting shots of dozens of folks no longer with us, from those dead for political reasons to those who themselves decided to end it all. And it records the words of those who went on with their lives after uttering a memorable farewell but whose reputation was made by their words, often to their lasting frustration, such as the infamous Richard Milhous Nixon: "You won't have me to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." Famous Last Words also preserves the last words of those inhabiting the world of fiction, whether in a book, on the stage, in a movie or on TV. Blanche DuBois's "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" ranks right alongside Charles Foster Kane's "Rosebud" and Sidney Carton's "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done. . . ." The mutterings of the imagined are always floating around in our culture's consciousness, kicking lustily. Author Alan Bisbort consulted unimpeachable sources and original texts in compiling this compendium of 140 choice good-byes. But not only the farewells capture our attention: Bisbort's concise, witty, and informative text adds revealing context to the quoted words. Famous Last Words is fascinating, illuminating, and immensely rewarding. Reading through the pages may reveal some unifying impulse behind all those bye-byes; if so, you have truly stumbled uponthe meaning of life.
Author: George Carlin
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2009-11-10
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
This ebook features added multimedia content: an interview with George Carlin’s daughter Kelly about life with her dad, and a tribute video with interviews with Susie Essman, Michael Ian Black, Richard Belzer, George Wendt, and Jeffrey Ross, who talk about Carlin’s incredible ability to make people laugh. One of the undisputed heavyweight champions of American comedy, with nineteen appearances on the Johnny Carson show, thirteen HBO specials, five Grammys, and a critical Supreme Court battle over censorship under his belt, George Carlin saw it all throughout his extraordinary fifty-year career, and made fun of most of it. Last Words is the story of the man behind some of the most seminal comedy of the last half century, blending his signature acerbic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life, including encounters with a Who’s Who of 1970s celebrity—from Lenny Bruce to Hugh Hefner—and the origins of some of his most famous standup routines. Carlin’s early conflicts, his long struggle with substance abuse, his turbulent relationships with his family, and his triumphs over catastrophic setbacks all fueled the unique comedic worldview he brought to the stage. From the heights of stardom to the low points few knew about, Last Words is told with the same razor-sharp wit and unblinking honesty that made Carlin one of the best-loved comedians in American history
Author: William S. Burroughs
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Release Date: 2007-12-01
Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs is the most intimate book ever written by William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch and one of the most celebrated literary outlaws of our time. Laid out as diary entries of the last nine months of Burroughs's life, Last Words spans the realms of cultural criticism, personal memoir, and fiction. Classic Burroughs concerns -- literature, U.S. drug policy, the state of humanity, his love for his cats -- permeate the book. Most significantly, Last Words contains some of the most personal work Burroughs has ever written, a final reckoning with his life and regrets, and his reflections on the deaths of his friends Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary. It is a poignant portrait of the man, his life, and his creative process -- one that never quit, not even in the shadow of death.
Author: Robert K. Elder
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2010-05-15
Genre: True Crime
Some beg for forgiveness. Others claim innocence. At least three cheer for their favorite football teams. Death waits for us all, but only those sentenced to death know the day and the hour—and only they can be sure that their last words will be recorded for posterity. Last Words of the Executed presents an oral history of American capital punishment, as heard from the gallows, the chair, and the gurney. The product of seven years of extensive research by journalist Robert K. Elder, the book explores the cultural value of these final statements and asks what we can learn from them. We hear from both the famous—such as Nathan Hale, Joe Hill, Ted Bundy, and John Brown—and the forgotten, and their words give us unprecedented glimpses into their lives, their crimes, and the world they inhabited. Organized by era and method of execution, these final statements range from heartfelt to horrific. Some are calls for peace or cries against injustice; others are accepting, confessional, or consoling; still others are venomous, rage-fueled diatribes. Even the chills evoked by some of these last words are brought on in part by the shared humanity we can’t ignore, their reminder that we all come to the same end, regardless of how we arrive there. Last Words of the Executed is not a political book. Rather, Elder simply asks readers to listen closely to these voices that echo history. The result is a riveting, moving testament from the darkest corners of society.
Author: Stephen Crane
Publisher: The Floating Press
Release Date: 2011-07-01
Remarkably prolific writer Stephen Crane died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 28. But in the years before his premature demise, Crane exerted a profound influence on American literature that would resonate for decades after his death. The posthumous collection Last Words brings together a series of stories, essays, sketches, and other short pieces that were among Crane's final works.
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company (BYR)
Release Date: 2013-07-02
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
In Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, sixteen-year-old Samantha D'Angelo has death on the brain. Her summer internship at the local newspaper has her writing obituaries instead of soaking up the sun at the beach. Between Shelby, Sam's boy-crazy best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow "intern scum" (aka the cute drummer for a band called Love Gas), Sam has her hands full. But once she figures out what—or who—is the best part of her summer, will she mess it all up? As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and most important—herself.
Author: Margot Schwass
Publisher: Bridget Williams Books
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Social Science
A short book about different practices for acknowledging death in the different cultures and religions currently in New Zealand. While it is designed for use by nurses and doctors, chaplains, funeral directors, police, hospice workers and community workers, the book is also intended for general readers.
Author: C. Bernard Ruffin
Release Date: 2006-01-01
The last words of the dying often provide insight into their feelings about life. Some are peaceful (It is very beautiful over there--Thomas Alva Edison); many are spiritual (Don't ask the Lord to keep me here. Ask him to have mercy--Walker Percy); others are angry (God-damn the whole frigging world and everybody in it--except you Carlotta--W.C. Fields); still others reflect the weary fight against death (I'm bored of it all--Sir Winston Churchill). Nearly 2,000 deathbed quotations from saints, popes, statesmen, scientists, soldiers, musicians, athletes, artists, entertainers, writers, criminals and others are included in this reference work. Each entry includes a brief biographical sketch of the person and sets the quotation in context. The sources for the quotes include biographies, newspaper and magazine accounts, and, in a few instances, firsthand accounts.
The Seven Words from the Cross are the focus of Christian meditation through the ages. Set to music by Haydn, they epitomise the depth of Jesus's human expereience and thus speak most profoundly to the human condition. Each meditation is illustrated with a picture of Christ on the Cross. Many are old masters;some more modern. The object is to lead the reader deeply into prayer and contemplation. But there is nothing fusty about Radcliffe's text. Whatever he writes is a breath of fresh air and these meditations are modern and contemporary in their reference. There are also many autobiographical touches which make these meditations more personal. This is perfect Lent reading by a spiritual master and one of the few Christian prophets in our time.
Norma Herrera lived her brother's personal hell as he waited on Death Row for the courts to decide if the new evidence that proved Leonel Herrera's innocence would save his life. Her book fulfills her last promise to Leo: to tell his story, to tell the truth. "Federal habeas courts do not sit to correct errors of fact but to ensure the individuals are not imprisoned in violation of the Constitution," it said. In other words, being falsely imprisoned is not a violation of your rights. Herrera was executed four months after the ruling. In his final statement he said: "I am innocent, innocent, innocent. I am an innocent man, and something very wrong is taking place tonight." Norma Herrera's book documents court events and press coverage. She recounts the tribulations she and her family suffered as they worked to free Leonel Herrera from his fate. If the all the court proceedings, including the Supreme Court's decision prior to Leo's execution represent the visible tip of the death penalty iceberg, LAST WORDS FROM DEATH ROW exposes the enormous human tragedy that resides below the surface. Her questions drive a powerful wedge between the legal process in capital cases and the truth. Why do the guilty go unpunished? When is innocence not enough to free a convicted man? Does Truth not prevail in the American Justice system? Who pays? We all do. Who is next?
"You see! This is how you die." - Coco Chanel "Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!" - Breaker Morant "If any of you have a message for the devil, give it to me, for I am about to meet him!" - Lavinia Fisher "I am dying. Please... bring me a toothpick. " - Alfred Jarry Funny, reflective, scornful or delirious, we are fascinated by famous last words because, humanity in extremis, they seem to tell us something about ourselves. Featuring lovers, killers, artists, traitors, spies, rulers, poets and pariahs, this thoughtful volume brings together the hedonists and the fatalists, the pragmatists and the optimists in a collection of famous last utterances - and the stories behind them - from throughout history.
Author: Alison Booth
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Release Date: 1993
Genre: Literary Criticism
Famous Last Words traces a broad historical transition- from the 1840s to the 1980s- from the more rigid dichotomy of the Victorian novel, in which good women must marry and fallen women die, to the more open alternatives of twentieth-century fiction, which sometimes permit the independent female protagonist to survive and occasionally allow alternative constructions of gender as well as plot. Each essay treats a narrative- novel, novella, or novel poem- by a single author in light of conventions of closure and of gender in historical context. The contributors recover forgotten texts, revise our understanding of women writers once successful, but now somewhat marginalized, and give voice to cultural "others." Works by the already canonized George Eliot are reassessed, and the representation of women in the canonical novels of male writers William Thackeray and Henry James is explored.