Death and the Victorians (Hardback)
A Dark Fascination
From spooky stories and real-life ghost hunting, to shows about murder and serial killers, we are fascinated by death - and we owe these modern obsessions to the Victorian age.
Death and the Victorians explores a period in history when the search for the truth about what lies beyond our mortal realm was matched only by the imagination and invention used to find it.
Walk among London’s festering graveyards, where the dead were literally rising from the grave. Visit the Paris Morgue, where thousands flocked to view the spectacle of death every single day.
Lift the veil on how spirits were invited into the home, secret societies taught ways to survive death, and the latest science and technology was applied to provide proof of the afterlife.
Find out why the Victorian era is considered the golden age of the ghost story, exemplified by tales from the likes of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Oscar Wilde and Henry James.
Discover how the birth of the popular press nurtured our taste for murder and that Jack the Ripper was actually a work of pure Gothic horror fiction crafted by cynical Victorian newspapermen.
Death and the Victorians exposes the darker side of the nineteenth century, a time when the living were inventing incredible ways to connect with the dead that endure to this day.
Death and the Victorians by Adrian Mackinder is a nonfiction book around Victorian attitudes around death and connecting the threads to previous beliefs and modern practices. The cremation aspect was quite interesting and I am now interested in doing my own research into the topic.NetGalley, Chelsea Rothe
The necropolises of Great Britain were new information for me as was when reincarnation was introduced to England and by who and I enjoyed the connections made between ectoplasm in Ghostbusters and Victorian spirituality.
I was originally concerned that the book would dismiss the victims of Jack the Ripper due to the wording of the summary, but Mackinder names all five of the Canonical Five, explicitly states that they deserve more attention, and directs readers who want to give the spotlight to those women to read The Five by Hallie Rubenhold.
I would recommend this to those doing research on the Victorian era, spirituality in England, and the White Chapel murders.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Janalyn Prude
This is a great book and one I found very interesting and highly entertaining.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Louise Gray
This fascinating book covers the physical aspects of death as well as the mystical. It’s a great combination of facts about the practicalities of disposing of bodies through to the spiritualist movement and how “those left behind” come to terms with loss. I loved the information on the Paris Catacombs and the ways in which burials were managed in overcrowded London graveyards, as well as the details of Resurrection Men and what their practices meant for the legal framework. It’s well researched and there is a tone of humour in the writing style which actually works really well for such a dark topic. A great read!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Elisa Rambacher
This book is insanely entertaining, informative and well researched. I’ve always felt a strange fascination with Victorian times, so this read was like a time machine that allowed me to look at the people who lived those lives. The author makes a good case for the way Victoriana has influenced us through the years, including our views on life and death, our fascination with the supernatural and even the true crime podcasts that started only recently. Despite being centered on Victorian England, there is information about France and the US, including how views on the same subjects were similar and how they differed. I especially enjoyed the parts about literature and how it influenced media reports. Three of the books mentioned here: Dracula, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Portrait of Dorian Grey are favorites, so it was fascinating to see how the coverage of the Jack the Ripper murders was shaped by them. The author also answered my question about how intelligent people could have fallen for obvious frauds trying to speak to the dead. I truly enjoyed this.
Hundreds of years ago, at university, I did a course on Death and Mourning in Victorian Literature. I've been obsessed ever since. Give me an opportunity to talk about the overcrowding of graveyards in Victorian London and I'm there for twenty minutes minimum. This tapped right into my interests. I enjoyed the book. I think it's a great book for people who are starting to get interested in the subject. It struck the right note between scholarly and telling a great story.NetGalley, Katy Wheatley
I will definitely recommend this title to readers who enjoy reading about the Victorian Era, a fascinating time in history and death, always a compelling topic!NetGalley, Birgitta Gustafson
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, A D
This was an informative read, it was great to read more about the concept of death in general but also to learn more about the specific Victorian era regarding death was fascinating.