'Suicide' and 'the Middle Ages' sounds like a contradiction. Was life not too short anyway, and the Church too disapproving, to admit suicide? Examining a wide range of suicides, and exploring how the living reacted to them, Alexander Murray takes the reader on a remarkable odyssey through medieval law, social life, literature, and religion.
Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. The Secrecy of the Act; How to Find Out. I: Chronicles; 3. The Reticence of Chronicles; 4. The Probing of Disgrace; 5. The Reticence Broken. The Preoccupations of Local and House Chronicles; How to Find Out. II: Legal Sources; 6. Suicide and Judicial Records; 7. Portraits from English Courts: Criminals, Debtors, and the Sick; 8. Portraits from English Courts: 'Insanity' and Some Optical Illusions; 9. Portraits from French Courts; 10. Portraits from Lettres de Remission; 11. Portraits from Courts in the Empire; How to Find Out. III: Religious Sources; 12. Man, Woman, and Child; 13. The Enemy of Society; 14. The Sick and Melancholy; Towards Statistics; 15. Towards Statistics: Absolute Numbers; 16. Towards Statistics: The Person and the Act; Appendix: A Register of Recorded Suicidal Incidents - I. Chronicles; II. Legal Sources; III. Religious Sources; A Bibliography of Legal Sources Used in the Register; Select Bibliography to Part I