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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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Notes on Contributors


STEWART J. BROWN is Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Edinburgh. His work explores the religious culture of modern Britain and Ireland, and the religious Enlightenment in Europe. His books include Thomas Chalmers and the Godly Commonwealth in Scotland (1982), The National Churches of England, Ireland and Scotland, 1801–1846 (2001), and Providence and Empire: Religion, Politics and Society in the United Kingdom, 1815–1914 (2008).

SUSAN BUCKHAM is 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. She holds a PhD from the University of York (awarded 2004), where she studied in the Archaeology Department. Her doctoral research examined the social and economic influences upon Victorian gravestone designs in York Cemetery.

GLENYS CASWELL is a research fellow in the Sue Ryder Care Centre for the Study of Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests centre around the social processes involved in the management of death, and she is currently working on two studies exploring end of life issues. Her PhD, completed in 2009, was a qualitative exploration of Scottish funeral practices.

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