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 is Lecturer in History at the Open University. -- .
List of figures, tables and diagrams Acknowledgements Prologue 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? Bibliography Index -- .