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Suicide in Victorian and Edwardian England - Olive Anderson

Suicide in Victorian and Edwardian England

Hardcover Published: 16th July 1987
ISBN: 9780198201014
Number Of Pages: 494

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This is the first serious historical study of a central human problem. Suicide is a long-standing concern of sociologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and moralists. Here Olive Anderson provides a new dimension for understanding suicidal behaviour and responses to it, and a chapter in the general history of death. In doing so she makes a substantial contribution to many aspects of the history of Victorian and Edwardian England. Using different combinations of historical techniques and sources (including coroners' private case papers), Professor Anderson examines in turn four major elements in the study of suicide: suicide rates and distributions; individual experiences; social attitudes; and efforts and prevention. Her lucid and humane approach to this sensitive subject opens up new perspectives on the significance of time, place, age, and gender; on law, literature, medicine, and collective mentalities; and on the police, philanthropy, and public policy.

Industry Reviews

`What a joy it is to come across a book that is not only informative and illuminating, but also immensely readable and ... entertaining. ' The Lancet `It is impossible in a few words to do justice to this monumental book and the exhaustive research Professor Anderson must have undertaken. ' The Lancet `Open it at random and one's eye is caught by some fascinating titbit of interest, so packed is it with unusual historical information. ' The Lancet `erudite and often entertaining book ' David Cohen. New Scientist `Olive Anderson has done an immense amount of work on careful work on difficult sources ... Continuously analytic in her approach ... unobtrusively but consistently humane, she is an admirable guide, and complements the map of her new world with a full and detailed index ... an important, adventurous and thoroughly resourceful book. ' Brian Harrison, Times Literary Supplement `meticulously researched and elegantly written monograph ' History Today `magnificent study ... Her monograph is a model instance of how a murky and often secret subject can be reliably analysed thanks to the sensitive integration of quantitive and qualitive evidence ... alert and expert analysis ... It was all sad stuff, as this pioneering, absorbing, and learned volume so expertly shows. ' Medical History `a formidably intelligent book which makes few concessions to the casual reader, and none at all to theorists and mythologists ... massively-researched and path-breaking study of suicide. ' The London Review of Books `a comprehensive and well-documented survey of the social scene, particularly in the London area ... This book is hardly one to be read from cover to cover ... It is more fun to open it at random and to find that there is scarcely a page that does not hold some trivia of 'useless' but fascinating information. ' The Samaritan `This is a fascinating book on a subject which never fails to arouse wide general interest ... Professor Olive Anderson has added a new dimension to the understanding of what remains a peculiarly human activity ... the writer's lucid style and the thread of human interest and compassion that is evident throughout, makes this an eminently readable work which is difficult to put down. ' Journal of the Eugenics Society `Reading 426 pages on Victorian and Edwardian suicide would not seem on the surface of it a cheerful way of passing the time. Olive Anderson's approach and her unfailing sympathy and common sense prove otherwise. My first of many commendations of Anderson's book is for her ability not to lose for a moment her historian's focus ... Another commendation goes to her admirable introductory defence of the official British statistics on suicide ' Ann Robson, University of Toronto, Victorian Studies Association `It is impossible in a short review to do justice to a book which raises so many issues of interest to social and labour historians. Professor Anderson's careful research over many years has admirably meshed quantitative and qualitative methods and the results are presented with considerable sophistication of analysis. ' Virginia Berridge, Bulletin of the Society for the study of Labour History `the first sustained and rigorous treastment of suicide in western history ... It is a magnificent achievement ... displays a thorough mastery of every kind of relevant records and documents ' Michael MacDonald, University of Michigan, Journal of Social History, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh `a fascinating insight into the lives (and deaths) of ordinary people of the past ... Olive Anderson makes superb use of a wide range of sources, coroners' reports, diaries, letters, newspaper accounts and literature. Olive Anderson's book is an important contribution not only to the history of suicide itself ... but also to the history of psychiatry and the professionalization of care of the insane and criminals ... Through its meticulous documentation, this book destroys some of the popular misconceptions of Victorian and Edwardian attitudes to life and death. ' Linda Bryder, The Queen's College, Oxford, The Welsh History Review `elegantly crafted work ... the work is crammed with novel insights ... It is now hard to envisage any study of the period that can neglect this fascinating and important subject. ' History and Archaeology Review

ISBN: 9780198201014
ISBN-10: 019820101X
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 494
Published: 16th July 1987
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.81

Earn 530 Qantas Points
on this Book