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History of Suicide

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History of Suicide

Voluntary Death in Western Culture



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History of Suicide by Georges Minois
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In this history, Georges Minois examines how a culture's attitudes about suicide reflect its larger beliefs and values - attitudes toward life and death, duty and honour, pain and pleasure. Minois begins his survey with classical Greece and Rome, where suicide was acceptable - even heroic - under some circumstances. With the rise of Christianity, however, suicide was unequivocally condemned as self-murder and an insult to God. With the Renaissance and its renewed interest in classical culture, suicide re-emerged as a philosophical issue. Minois finds examples of changing attitudes in key Renaissance texts by Bacon, Montaigne, Sidney, Donne and Shakespeare. By 1700, the term "suicide" had replaced "self-murder" and the subject began to interest the emerging scientific disciplines. Minois follows the ongoing evaluation of suicide through the Enlightenment and the Romantic periods, and he examines attitudes that emerge in 19th- and 20th-century science, law, philosophy and literature. Minois concludes with comments on the most recent turn in this long and complex history - the emotional debate over euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the right to die.

Author Biography

Georges Minois is the author of fourteen books on topics as diverse as the church and science, the church and war, Henry VIII, and the history of Europe. Lydia G. Cochrane has translated many works, including Roger Chartier's On the Edge of the Cliff for Johns Hopkins.
Release date NZ
April 17th, 2001
Translated by Lydia G. Cochrane
Country of Publication
United States
Johns Hopkins University Press
Interest Age
From 17
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