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Other titles in the Oxford Studies in Social History series:
Sleepless Souls: Suicide in Early Modern England (Oxford Studies in Social History)by Michael Macdonald
Synopses & Reviews
Sleepless Souls is a social and cultural history of suicide in early modern England. It traces the rise and fall of the crime of self-murder and explores the reasons why suicide came to be harshly punished in the sixteenth century, and why it was gradually decriminalized in the century and a half following the English Revolution. Michael MacDonald and Terence R. Murphy employ a wide range of records from the period between 1500 and 1800 in order to place suicide in its contemporary context, and relate its history to political events, religious changes, philosophical fashions, tensions between central government and local communities, class interests, and the communication media. The authors treat the crisis of death by suicide as a lens in which the forces that reshaped the mental outlook of different classes and social groups are reflected.
Sleepless Souls is a social and cultural history of suicide in early modern England. It traces the rise and fall of the crime of self-murder and explores why suicide came to be harshly punished in the sixteenth century, and why it was subsequently gradually decriminalized, tolerated, and even sentimentalized. It is a readable, detailed, and scholarly examination of the changing meaning of self-destruction, which provides an illuminating perspective of the sweep of cultural and social change in England over three centuries.
Suicide was regarded as a deplorable act, subject to savage punishments, in Tudor and Stuart England. In Georgian England it was de-criminalized, tolerated, and even sentimentalized. Drawing on a wide variety of contemporary sources, Sleepless Souls traces the causes of this dramatic shift in attitude. Michael MacDonald and Terence R. Murphy relate changes in opinion and practice to the complex framework of life in early modern England--including political events, religious changes, philosophical fashions, and differing class interests. Their analysis uncovers the forces that were reshaping the mental outlook of different English classes and social groups, and consequently provides an invaluable social and cultural history of English society over three centuries.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -371) and index.
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History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics