Suicide in the Middle Ages: The violent against themselves

Voorkant
`Suicide' and `the Middle Ages' sounds like a contradiction. Was life not too short anyway, and the Church too disapproving, to admit suicide? And how is the historian supposed to find out? Alexander Murray takes the last question first, as a key to the testing of all other assumptions. Examining a wide range of documents he shows that there were indeed suicides, of types and configurations astonishingly modern, if not in numbers per capita. As for reactions, they were of two kinds.One was to heap suicide with every imaginable curse, natural and supernatural, and the author's search for their religious, anthropological, and legal background leads far outside medieval christendom. However, he also uncovers a less negative reaction as, from the eleventh century onwards,medicine, psychology, poetry, and the pastoral priesthood charted ever more assiduously the terra incognita of suicidal emotion.
 

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Inhoudsopgave

The Secrecy of Suicide
22
CHRONICLES
41
The Probing of Disgrace
71
The Preoccupations of Local
97
LEGAL SOURCES
120
Criminals Debtors
49
Insanity and Some
66
Portraits from French Courts 180
80
RELIGIOUS SOURCES
151
The Enemy of Society
195
The Sick and Melancholy
318
TOWARDS STATISTICS
348
The Person and the Act
379
Chronicles
431
Religious Sources
465
Select Bibliography
477

Portraits from Letters of Remission 107
107
Portraits from Courts in the Empire 118
129

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Over de auteur (1998)


Alexander Murray is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Praelector in Modern History at University College, Oxford.

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