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From Sin To Insanity: Suicide In Early Modern Europe

Watt, Jeffrey R.

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ISBN 10: 0801442788 / ISBN 13: 9780801442780
Published by Cornell Univ Pr, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A., 2004
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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1st printing, 240 pp. (SOCIOLOGY). Bookseller Inventory # 000061

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Bibliographic Details

Title: From Sin To Insanity: Suicide In Early ...

Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


In the broadest treatment yet of suicide in Europe during the period 1500–1800, eleven authors combine elements of social, cultural, legal, and intellectual history to trace important changes in the ways Europeans experienced and understood voluntary death. Well into the seventeenth century, Europeans viewed suicide as a terrible crime and an unforgivable sin resulting from demonic temptation. By the late eighteenth century, however, suicide was rarely subject to judicial penalties, and society tended to blame self-inflicted death on insanity rather than on the devil.

From Sin to Insanity shows that early modern Europe witnessed nothing less than the birth of modern suicide: increasing in frequency, self-inflicted death became decriminalized, secularized, and medicalized, viewed as a regrettable but not shameful result of reversals in fortune or physical or mental infirmity. The ten chapters focus on suicide cases and attitudes toward self-murder from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries in geographical settings as diverse as Scandinavia and Hungary, France and Germany, England and Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands.

Contributors: Donna T. Andrew, University of Guelph; Machiel Bosman, Amsterdam; James M. Boyden, Tulane University; Elizabeth G. Dickenson, University of Texas at Austin; Arne Jansson, Stockholm; Craig Koslofsky, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; David Lederer, National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Vera Lind, German Historical Institute; Jeffrey Merrick, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Paul S. Seaver, Stanford University; Jeffrey R. Watt, University of Mississippi

About the Author:

Jeffrey R. Watt is Professor of History at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of The Making of Modern Marriage: Matrimonial Control and the Rise of Sentiment in Neuchâtel, 1550–1800 (also from Cornell) and Choosing Death: Suicide and Calvinism in Early Modern Geneva.

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