Suicide as a Cultural Institution in Dostoevsky's Russia

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Cornell University Press, 1997 - History - 319 pages
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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. Because Russian thought was influenced by Western European models, she examines how Western European science in the nineteenth century discussed suicide and human action in general. Throughout her book, Paperno offers glimpses of the men behind the interpretations, from Fyodor Dostoevsky and the German pathologist Rudolf Virchow to the anonymous journalists who reported suicides in Russian newspapers and magazines.

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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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