Framing Suicidal Emotions in the English Popular Press, 1750–80
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By modern standards, suicide was remarkably ubiquitous in the English eighteenth-century press. By mid- to late century, the frequency of suicide featuring in the popular press — in news reports, correspondence, essays, satirical pieces, and fictional vignettes — helped to establish two significant prevailing perceptions: that suicide formed a distinctive feature of the English national character, and that the scourge had reached unprecedented levels. As one observer remarked in 1772, suicide was perceived to be more frequent in England than in any other country’, and it was seen to be a melancholy truth, that it has of late been more frequent here than at any former period’.1 The nation, it appeared, was facing an unparalleled social crisis.
KeywordsPopular Press Moral Sentiment Moral Indignation Social Rehabilitation Suicide Note
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