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Self harm is generally regarded as a modern epidemic, associated especially with young women. But references to self harm are found in the poetry of ancient Rome, the drama of ancient Greece and early Christian texts, including the Bible. Studied by criminologists, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists and sociologists, the actions of those who harm themselves are often alienating and bewildering. This book provides a historical and conceptual roadmap for understanding self harm across a range of times and places: in modern high schools and in modern warfare; in traditional religious practices and in avant-garde performance art. Describing the diversity of self harm as well as responses to it, this book challenges the understanding of it as a single behavior associated with a specific age group, gender or cultural identity.