"Last Works" by Mark C. Taylor

Last Works Lessons in Leaving Mark C. Taylor

Publication date:
06 Feb 2018
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
24 b-w illus.

A powerful consideration of the lessons imparted in the final works of essential writers and philosophers

For many today, retirement and the leisure said to accompany it have become vestiges of a slower, long-lost time. In a world where the sense of identity is tied to work and careers, to stop working often is to become nobody. In this deeply perceptive and personal exploration of last works, Mark C. Taylor poignantly explores the final reflections of writers and thinkers from Kierkegaard to David Foster Wallace. How did they either face or avoid ending and leaving? What do their lessons in ending teach us about living in the time that remains for us?
Some leavings brought relief, even joy, while others brought pain and suffering. Whether the cause was infirmity, impending death, or simply exhaustion and ennui, the ways these influential voices fell silent offer poignant examples of people withdrawing from the world’s stage. Throughout this learned and moving book, Taylor probes how the art of living involves learning to leave gracefully.

Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion at Columbia University and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR. His previous books include Speed Limits and Recovering Place. He lives in Williamstown, MA.

“With panache and flashes of brilliance, Taylor . . . offers a philosophically astute analysis of how time works in our era. . . . There is, appropriately, no quick fix, but Taylor provides plenty of provocative, learned ideas.”— Publishers Weekly, on Speed Limits

“Last Works is a dazzling tapestry of reflection on the final works of writers Mark Taylor has loved through his many transformations. This is Taylor's intellectual autobiography, his relentless and moving quest to understand religion in its many engagements with literature.”—Kevin Hart, The University of Virginia