Violent Victorians

Popular entertainment in nineteenth-century London

By Rosalind Crone

Violent Victorians


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8685-4
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: February 2012
  • BIC Category: Social & cultural history, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era (1837-1901), Society & social sciences / Popular culture, Humanities / Social & cultural history


By drawing attention to the wide range of gruesome, bloody and confronting amusements patronised by ordinary Londoners this book challenges our understanding of Victorian society and culture. From the turn of the nineteenth century, graphic, yet orderly, 're-enactments' of high level violence flourished in travelling entertainments, penny broadsides, popular theatres, cheap instalment fiction and Sunday newspapers. This book explores the ways in which these entertainments siphoned off much of the actual violence that had hitherto been expressed in all manner of social and political dealings, thus providing a crucial accompaniment to schemes for the reformation of manners and the taming of the streets, while also serving as a social safety valve and a check on the growing cultural hegemony of the middle class.


Rosalind Crone's Violent Victorians is the kind of book that should be on every undergraduate reading list for 19th-century studies.'
Jennifer Wallis, Reviews in History, 28/06/2012

'illuminating, well-researched and persuasively argued...In sum an absorbing, lively read.'
Clive Emsley , BBC History, 01/08/2012

'This is a stimulating book, well illustrated and a lively and creative cover.'
Drew Gray, The London Journal, Vol. 37 No. 3, November 2012

'A fascinating and important new study'
Richard M. Ward, Urban History, Vol. 40


List of figures, tables and diagrams
1. London 1800-50: Coping with change, expressing resistance
2. About town with Mr Punch
3. From scaffold culture to the cult of the murderer
4. The 'Blood-Stained Stage' revisited
5. Selling Sweeney Todd to the masses
6. The rise of modern crime reporting
Epilogue: 1870 - The Civilising Moment?


Rosalind Crone is Lecturer in History at the Open University.

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