Incest in Sweden, 1680-1940

A history of forbidden relations

By Bonnie Clementsson

Incest in Sweden, 1680-1940

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-9-1984-6990-5
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Lund University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: August 2020
  • BIC Category: Modern History, Early Modern History, History, Social & cultural history, Legal history, 19th century, c 1800 to c 1899, 18th century, c 1700 to c 1799, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century, HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Scandinavia, Sweden, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
  • Series: Lund University Press


In early modern Sweden, if a man and his deceased wife's sister were found guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse they would be sentenced to death by beheading. Today the same relationship is not even illegal. Covering the period 1680-1940, this book analyses both incest crimes and applications for dispensation to marry, revealing the norms underpinning Swedish society's shifting attitudes to incestuous relations and comparing them with developments in other European countries. It demonstrates that, even though the debate on incest has been dominated by religious, moral and - in due course - medical notions, the values that actually determined the outcome of incest cases were frequently of quite a different character.


1 Background and context
2 Incest: a religious crime, 1680-1750
3 Incest: a moral crime, 1750-1840
4 Incest: a crime of violence, 1840-1940
The phenomenon of incest in Sweden over 250 years: a summary discussion


Bonnie Clementsson is a researcher at Lund University

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