Life And Death Matters

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Contemporary Psychology


Reviews the book, Transcendence of Loss Over the Life Span by Patricia Weenolsen (see record 1988-98346-000). This lengthy book aspires to build "an entirely new model" of human personality and development as well as of interpersonal and communal relationships. Based on a 1982 dissertation, it aims to provide a "foundation for rethinking life span development, including personality, psychopathology, individual, societal and cultural." A strength of the text is the broad sweep of psychological literature that it encompasses: developmental theory, psychodynamic theory, humanistic personality theory, and death studies. Ironically, however, this breadth sometimes works to its own disadvantage. Allusions to complex and nuanced psychological theories sometimes take on the character of hit-and-run accidents. Despite its shortcoming, this book takes an important step toward focusing psychologists' attention on how people make meaning in their lives and how language and metaphor function in the meaning-making process.

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