- Title Pages
- Outline of the Argument and Remarks on Method
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Experiences of Dying and Death
- 1.3 The Formation of Near-Death Experiences
- 1.4 Near-Death Experiences and the Religious Metacultures of Western Modernity
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 Currents of Early Modern Near-Death Discourse
- 2.3 The Integration of Theosophical Narratives on Travels of the “Spiritual Body” (ca. 1860–1905)
- 2.4 The Advent of Parapsychology and the Figuration of “Out-of-the-Body Experiences” (1880–1930)
- 2.5 The Theosophical Discovery of the <i>Tibetan Book of the Dead</i> (1927)
- 2.6 Consolidation of Near-Death Discourse (1930–1960)
- 2.7 The Final Configuration of Near-Death Experiences (1960–1975)
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Pushing Near-Death Experiences (I)
- 3.3 Pushing Near-Death Experiences (II)
- 3.4 Pushing Near-Death Experiences (III)
- 3.5 The Imperative of “Individual Experience”
- 4.1 Introduction
- 4.2 Excursus
- 4.3 The Survival Value of Narratives?
- 5.1 The Presence of Religious Metacultures in Near-Death Discourse (1580–1975)
- 5.2 The Religious Functions of Near-Death Experiences
- Name Index
- Subject Index
- (p.3) 1.1 Introduction
- What Is It Like To Be Dead?
- Oxford University Press
The introduction to Part I defines as the primary object of the study the reports of near-death experiences. As such, the latter are part of a literary form and specific genre. Experiences, and reports of experiences, it is argued, adapt to a complex network of expectation, anticipation, and confirmation of the anticipated. Therefore, they are culturally specific. Although of importance, fictional near-death reports as conveyed in literature and film will not be treated in the study if no autobiographical claim is visible, namely, that the experiences were made in biographically identifiable situations “near death.” The author’s aim to relate to a text-external world can be called “reference ambition” (Markus Davidsen).
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