Suicide as a Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky's Russia

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Cornell University Press, 1997 - History - 319 pages
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In the popular and scientific imagination, suicide has always been an enigmatic act that defies, and yet demands, explanation. Throughout the centuries, philosophers and writers, journalists and scientists have attempted to endow this act with meaning. In the nineteenth century, and especially in Russia, suicide became the focus for discussion of such issues as the immortality of the soul, free will and determinism, the physical and the spiritual, the individual and the social. Analyzing a variety of sources--medical reports, social treatises, legal codes, newspaper articles, fiction, private documents left by suicides--Irina Paperno describes the search for the meaning of suicide. Paperno focuses on Russia of the 1860s-1880s, when suicide was at the center of public attention.


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I rank this book as a five. My interest in the history of "social science" lead me to Suicide As A Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky's Russia. As a result the first two chapters paid back my investment in time and money. The rest was so much icing on the cake.
Eddie Evans
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About the author (1997)

Irina Paperno is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley.

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