The paper discusses the views of Ernesto De Martino on thanatology. Although De Martino worked extensively of mortuary rituals and myths and beliefs related to death, little has been said about his last interview, Rapporto sull’aldilà ("Report on the hereafter"). The author explores here the philosophical and anthropological argument of De Martino vis-à-vis themes such as ritual, presence and labour, and the way they relate to death as a cultural construction. Borrowing from Marxist anthropology and continental philosophy, the paper argues that De Martino was eventually sceptical of classic phenomenology and developed a philosophical approach which was deliberately polemic towards the dominating ideology of the 1950s and 1960s academic study of religion.
Keywords: Apophaticism, death, hereafter, Marxist anthropology, phenomenology, thanatology.