This is the first serious historical study of a central human problem. Suicide is a long-standing concern of sociologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and moralists. Here Olive Anderson provides a new dimension for understanding suicidal behaviour and responses to it, and a chapter in the general history of death. In doing so she makes a substantial contribution to many aspects of the history of Victorian and Edwardian England. Using different combinations of historical techniques and sources (including coroners' private case papers), Professor Anderson examines in turn four major elements in the study of suicide: suicide rates and distributions; individual experiences; social attitudes; and efforts and prevention. Her lucid and humane approach to this sensitive subject opens up new perspectives on the significance of time, place, age, and gender; on law, literature, medicine, and collective mentalities; and on the police, philanthropy, and public policy.