1st Edition

Death, Burial and the Individual in Early Modern England

By Clare Gittings Copyright 1984

    First published in 1984, Death, Burial and the Individual in Early Modern England traces how and why the modern reaction to death has come about by examining English attitudes to death since the Middle Ages. In earlier centuries death was very much in the midst of life since it was not, as now, associated mainly with old age. War, plague and infant mortality gave it a very different aspect to its present one. The author shows in detail how modern concern with the individual has gradually alienated death from our society; the greater the emphasis on personal uniqueness, the more intense the anguish when an individual dies. Changes in attitudes to death are traced through alterations in funeral rituals, covering all sections of society from paupers to princes. This gracefully written book is a unique, scholarly and thorough treatment of the subject, providing both a sensitive insight into the feelings of people in early modern England and an explanation of the modern anxiety about death. The range and assurance of this book will commend it to historians and the interested general reader alike.

    List of Plates List of Tables and Graph System of References Acknowledgements Scopes and Sources 1. The Legacy of the Middle Ages 2. Funerals and Faith 3. Funerals of the Unfortunate 4. ‘Let’s choose executors’ 5. ‘Prepare to follow this fair corpse unto her grave’ 6. ‘The bringing home of bell and burial’ 7. ‘With mirth in funeral’ 8. ‘The trappings and the suits of woe’ 9. ‘Yield day to night…We mourn in black’ 10. ‘And my large kingdom for a little grave’ Statistical Appendix Bibliography Index of People and Places Index of Subjects


    Clare Gittings