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Suicidal thoughts in the novel Don Quixote


Pridmore, S and Pridmore, C, Suicidal thoughts in the novel Don Quixote, Malaysian Journal of Medical Science, 23, (2) pp. 65-69. ISSN 1394-195X (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2016 Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences

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Background: During the last century suicide has been medicalised. This restrictive view has been challenged, and the wisdom of experts from beyond medicine is being valued. Fictional literature is a source of information regarding the human experience. Objective: To extend our understanding of suicide and suicidal thinking by examining the early-17th Century Spanish novel, "Don Quixote".

Method: Various translations were examined for accounts of suicide, suicidal thinking, and associated behaviour.

Results: There were no accounts of completed suicide. There was one statement indicating the belief that suicide could be triggered by mental disorder. There were five statements indicating that suicidal thinking could arise in situations of distress. Such distress arose from the actual/potential loss of a loved person, suffering by another person, and relentless sleep deprivation. There is one account of a person pretending to attempt suicide and achieving a self-inflicted wound, not with the intention to self-murder, but to impact the disposition of another person.

Conclusion: The observation that in early-17th Century Spain suicide was acknowledged as means of dealing with distress is consistent with findings from other periods, and the present day. This strengthens the position that suicide can occur in the absence of mental disorder.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:suicide, suicide attempted, mental disorder, medicalisation
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Pridmore, S (Professor Saxby Pridmore)
ID Code:106801
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-02-22
Last Modified:2017-12-14

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