The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker

The basic premise of The Denial of Death is that human civilization is ultimately an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of our mortality, which in turn acts as the emotional and intellectual response to our basic survival mechanism. Becker argues that a basic duality in human life exists between the physical world of objects and a symbolic world of human meaning. Thus, since man has a dualistic nature consisting of a physical self and a symbolic self, man is able to transcend the dilemma of mortality through heroism, a concept involving his symbolic half. By embarking on what Becker refers to as an "immortality project" (or causa sui), in which he creates or becomes part of something which he feels will last forever, man feels he has "become" heroic and, henceforth, part of something eternal; something that will never die, compared to his physical body that will die one day. This, in turn, gives man the feeling that his life has meaning; a purpose; significance in the grand scheme of things. The Denial of Death is a work of psychology and philosophy written by Ernest Becker and published in 1973. It was awarded the Pulitzer prize for general non-fiction in 1974, two months after the author's death. The book builds largely on the works of Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, and one of Freud's colleagues, Otto Rank.

The 892nd greatest nonfiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction (Pulitzer Prize)

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Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Denial of Death Mass Market Paperback 7958021 $7.95
The Denial of Death Paperback 1764812 $59.06 $0.01
The Denial of Death Kindle Edition 55354 $10.37 2007
Denial of Death Paperback 1584164 $14.00 $0.01 1976
The Denial of Death Paperback 1685327 $5.45
The Denial of Death: Library Edition Audio CD 5515936 $49.99 $80.99
The Denial of Death Hardcover 722341 $231.04 $41.18 1973
The Denial of Death Hardcover 1385791 $214.11 $211.87
The Denial of Death Paperback 1571995 $5.28 $0.01 1985
The Denial of Death Paperback 3422 $11.98 $8.68 1997
The Denial of Death: Library Edition Audio CD 896024 $18.87 $34.53
The Denial of Death Paperback 2090233 $9.17 $4.50 1997