Religion: Exit Lines

Men talk their way through life, but the best remembered words they utter are often their last. The mystery of death seems to touch the most commonplace sayings with power and portent. Edifying compilations of last words were highly valued in the days when people spoke of "making a good death." The latest such anthology throws edification to the winds. In his Dictionary of Last Words (Philosophical Library;$5), Editor Edward S. Le Comte includes the irrelevancies of delirium as well as the measured phrases of "holy dying." He has culled such sources as Baedeker's The United States, newspapers and TIME,...

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