A Death of One's Own, by Jared Stark, is a challenging intervention, from a comparative literature scholar, in legal and bioethical debates about the so-called “right to die.” Though clearly based in relevant bioethical scholarship, it is highly resistant to being assimilated within the existing frameworks in which euthanasia is discussed. This resistance is on purpose, for it is only by unsettling these frameworks that a robust understanding of the issue might be had. The result generates more questions than answers. But, for Stark, that is the nature of his subject matter: modern 
death.

For Stark, modernity is characterized by conflicting impulses toward death. On the one hand, there is the desire to control it. Such control comes primarily through its medicalization: from the shift of death from the home to the hospital, its cordoning off from the growing metropolis. But this control is always limited, because modern death...

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