Suicide in the Middle Ages

Volume 2: The Curse on Self-Murder

Uitgever: Oxford University Press

  • Engels
  • 1e druk
  • 9780198207313
  • augustus 2000
  • Hardcover
  • 662 pagina's
Alle productspecificaties


A group of men dig a tunnel under the threshold of a house. Then they go and fetch a heavy, sagging object from inside the house, pull it out through the tunnel, and put it on a cow-hide to be dragged off and thrown into the offal-pit. Why should the corpse of a suicide - for that is what it is- have earned this unusual treatment? In The Curse on Self-Murder, the second volume of his three-part Suicide in the Middle Ages, Alexander Murray explores the origin of the condemnation of suicide, in a quest which leads along the most unexpected byways of medieval theology, law, mythology, and folklore -and, indeed, in some instances beyond them. At an epoch when there might be plenty of ostensible reasons for not wanting to live, the ways used to block the suicidal escape route give a unique perspective on medieval religion.


While the verdict of compos mentis is pending on the remaining two, if they are of the quality of the first, then this three volume study will represent a landmark in medieval history, as well as the sub-field of suicide history. * David Lederer, The Medieval Review * It is infinitesimal (at times obsessive) in its concern for detail and its three-volume size is in part explained by the stubborn insistence of the author to include every scrap of information relevant to his inquiry, leaving few stones unturned. What other English-language publisher indulges historians to that extent these days? Further, anyone who doubts Murray's initial promise of three volumes is quickly dissuaded by specific references to subsequent volumes in the footnotes. * David Lederer, The Medieval Review * His most excellent dissection of the body of the judiciary in post-Conquest England cuts through records of coroners and the eyre rolls, as well as King's Bench in Westminster ... Suffice to say, his explication of legal records is nothing less than brilliant ... This is truly a history book for historians; without the slightest hint of depression (albeit with a shiver at the description of volume three on pg. 345). I devoured it with a good strong claret before the fireplace. * David Lederer, The Medieval Review * It will become the definitive study almost as a by-product. * Contemporary Review * We could hope for no better guide. * Margaret Atkins, The Tablet, * This is an astonishing and very individual work. Its range and erudition are prodigious. Monumental labour and great fixity of vision and purpose will have been needed to create it. The grand design is kept in view all the time while the interlocking subordinte parts and arguments move forward. * English Historical Review * Murray's description of Emile Durkheim's book on suicide can be applied to his own monumental work - 'long, cogent, lucid and unobtrusively tender'. * English Historical Review * Fascinating comments on medieval law and culture ... This is a book of breathtaking learning, full of insights on a great range of aspects of medieval culture, not least because, as Murray so brilliantly shows, the issue of suicide threw up so many paradoxes and anomalies within legal and ethical systems of thought and practice. An extraordinary, if daunting, second volume to the trilogy: Paradiso is eagerly awaited. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History * 'No other work on the history of thought and action touches it' * Spectator * 'Book of the year chosen by Eric Christiansen * The Spectator *



augustus 2000
1e druk
24,8 x 17,1 x 4,4 cm
Aantal pagina's
662 pagina's


Alexander Murray
Oxford University Press



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illustrated edition
Volume 2: The Curse on Self-Murder

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