Suicide Notes and Popular Sensibility in the Eighteenth-Century British Press

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    Abstract

    By the mid-eighteenth century, the suicide note had emerged in Britain as a powerful literary tool in the secularization of self murder. The increasing publication of such notes in the popular press afforded suicides a final and very public opportunity for self-fashioning. This essay draws upon examples (from the mid-century to the publication of Goethe's Werther in Britain) to examine the ways suicidal authors drew upon and instigated networks of popular sensibility as part of this process, publicly exposing the duality of sensibility (as both moral faculty and a pathological condition) and its potential social implications when circulated via the press.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-291
    Number of pages15
    JournalEIGHTEENTH-CENTURY STUDIES
    Volume47
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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