The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead

Author(s): Carl Watkins


"This is a wonderful book: curious and insightful". (Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England). We know what happens to the body when we die, but what happens to the soul? The answer may remain a great unknown, but the question has shaped centuries of tradition, folklore and religious belief. In this vivid history of the macabre, Carl Watkins goes in search of the ancient customs, local characters and compelling tales that illuminate how people over the years have come to terms with our ultimate fate. The result is an enthralling journey into Britain's past, from medieval hauntings on the Yorkshire moors and eccentric memorials on the Cornish coast to seances in Victorian kitchens and gallows tales from a Bristol gaol. Impeccably researched and elegantly told, The Undiscovered Country ventures beyond the veil to bring the dead back to life.


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A fascinating history of the changing - and enduring - beliefs about death, and what lies beyond.

"Outstanding ... This may be a book about death but, paradoxically, it is one filled with intelligence and life" Sunday Times "Watkins is one of those rare guides who never overstays his welcome. He wears his research lightly as he journeys around the British landscape, teasing out themes and cultural shifts from the particulars of individual lives" -- Iain Sinclair Guardian "A sensitive and fascinating history of an "undiscovered country" which, in many ways, mirrors the story of Britain" -- John Gallagher Sunday Telegraph "The Undiscovered Country, superbly written, shows how the meaning of life is still everywhere connected to what it means to die. Anyone feeling a bit like death should read it - and feel revivified" -- Ian Thomson Financial Times "This is a wonderful book: curious, insightful and beautifully written" -- Ian Mortimer Author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

Born and bred in Warwickshire, Carl Watkins read history at Cambridge, where he is now lecturer in medieval history and a fellow of Magdalene College. He writes about belief and has published on the history of ghosts, the afterlife, saints and folklore. His first book, History and the Supernatural in Medieval England, was published by CUP in 2007, and he has contributed to a forthcoming Cambridge history of medieval England. He has also appeared on Radio 3's Night Waves, in a number of programmes for Radio 4's series The Long View and on a number of television documentaries. He lives in Cambridge.

General Fields

  • : 9780099548584
  • : Vintage
  • : Vintage
  • : February 2014
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : March 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Carl Watkins
  • : Paperback
  • : 306.9
  • : 336
  • : Illustrationsstrations (black and white, and colour), maps (black and white)