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Death in Scotland

Chapters From the Twelfth Century to the Twenty-First


Peter C. Jupp and Hilary J. Grainger

For the past twenty years, Scottish death culture has emerged as a focus of scholars drawn from a wide variety of disciplines. Death comes to us all but too often we treat it as a private or personal matter. The former taboo about death is slowly lifting and contemporary research is playing an increasing part. Accordingly, the fifteen essays gathered in this book probe the multi-facetted role of death in Scottish history and culture. They explore personal fears of death, anxieties about Predestination, prayers for the dead and the appeal of Spiritualism. They analyse the public face of death in law, economics and medicine: changes in capital punishment, funeral poverty, the teaching of anatomy and prevention of stillbirths. Within the worlds of religion and ritual, they consider the making of saints, burial practice following the Scottish Reformation and the tradition of keening within the Gáidhealtachd. With an Introduction by Professor Jane Dawson, these essays by specialists in the field not only highlight the richness of the primary sources for studying death in Scotland but reveal how death studies identify key features of Scottish life and society across ten centuries.

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Series index


Studies in the History and Culture of Scotland

Valentina Bold, General Editor University of stirling

This series presents a new reading of Scottish culture, establishing how Scots, and non-Scots, experience this devolved nation. Within the context of a rapidly changing United Kingdom and Europe, Scotland is engaged in an ongoing process of self-definition. The series will deal with this process as well as with cultural phenomena, from debates about the relative value of Gaelic-based, Scots and Anglicised culture, to period-specific definitions of Scottish identity. Orally transmitted culture – from traditional narratives to songs, customs, beliefs and material culture – will be a key consideration, along with the reconstruction of historical periods in cultural texts (visual and musical as well as historical). Taken as a whole, the series will go some way towards achieving a new understanding of a country with potential for development into parallel treatments of locally based cultural phenomena. The series welcomes monographs as well as collected papers.

Vol.   1 Valentina Bold. James Hogg: A Bard of Nature’s Making. 376 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-897-8

Vol.   2 James Porter (ed.). Defining Strains: The Musical Life of Scots In the Seventeenth Century. 386 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-948-7

Vol.   3 Aaron Kelly. James Kelman: Politics and Aesthetics. 251 pages. 2013. ISBN 978-3-03911-130-5

Vol.   4 Jonathan Murray. Discomfort and Joy: The Cinema of Bill Forsyth. 270 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-03911-391-0

Vol.   5 Jessica Aliaga Lavrijsen. The Fiction of Brian McCabe...

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