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Death in Modern Scotland, 1855–1955

Beliefs, Attitudes and Practices


Edited By Susan Buckham, Peter C. Jupp and Julie Rugg

The period 1855 to 1955 was pivotal for modern Scottish death culture. Within art and literature death was a familiar companion, with its imagined presence charting the fears and expectations behind the public face of mortality. Framing new concepts of the afterlife became a task for both theologians and literary figures, both before and after the Great War. At the same time, medical and legal developments began to shift mortality into the realms of regulation and control. This interdisciplinary collection draws from the fields of art, literature, social history, religion, demography, legal history and architectural and landscape history. The essays employ a range of methodologies and materials – visual, statistical, archival and literary – to illustrate the richness of the primary sources for studying death in Scotland. They highlight a number of intersecting themes, including spirituality and the afterlife, the impact of war, materiality and the disposal of the body, providing new perspectives on how attitudes towards death have affected human behaviour on both personal and public levels, and throwing into relief some of the unique features of Scottish society.
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About the author


Susan Buckham is an Honorary Research Fellow in History and Politics at the University of Stirling. Drawing on twenty years of experience in graveyard recording, conservation, research and interpretation, Susan specialises in the interdisciplinary study of Scottish burial sites of the post-Reformation period. Peter C. Jupp is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Divinity, Edinburgh University and former Chair of the Cremation Society of Great Britain. Co-founder of the journal Mortality and the International Conference on Death, Dying and Disposal, he has co-edited several books in death studies including Death Our Future (2008). He is the author of From Dust to Ashes: Cremation and the British Way of Death (2006) and co-author of Cremation in Modern Scotland (2016). Julie Rugg is Senior Research Fellow at the University of York. Her principal research interest is in the meanings attached to the places of interment. She is the author of Churchyard and Cemetery: Tradition and Modernity in Rural North Yorkshire (2013), which charts the implementation of the Burial Acts in England.

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