New in Victorian Books this Week!

New in Victorian Books this Week! 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Avery, Simon

Writers and their Work – December 29, 2011

 Summary: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-61) was one of the most important poets of the nineteenth century and has recently undergone a major critical reappraisal. In this new study, Simon Avery examines a range of her poems, both well known and less familiar, drawn from across her career, in order to explore the concern with the search for a meaningful home which underpins much of her writing. In a series of interrelated chapters on Barrett Browning’s religious poetry, love poetry, political poetry, and her major work, Aurora Leigh, he considers the ways in which the speakers and protagonists of her poems constantly search for a place of security and stability even though this often seems finally unattainable. Attention is also given to Barrett Browning’s own search for a home in relation to inherited poetic models and traditions, and her establishment of an often radical poetics.

Inspector Frederick George Abberline and Jack the Ripper The Reality behind the Myth

Thurgood, Peter

Amazon Digital Services – December 28, 2011

Summary: Jack the Ripper – can there really be anyone in the world who hasn’t heard that name? I doubt it! But how many know the name of the detective who led the search for him, back in 1888? There have been a myriad of books, plays and films about Jack the Ripper, all featuring Inspector Abberline but the character we read about, and especially the one we see on our screens seems to change as if by metamorphosis, with each variation of the story.

The reality surrounding Frederick George Abberline’s life couldn’t be further from those films. He wasn’t a Cockney; he was in fact, born in Blandford in Dorset, he certainly wasn’t an alcoholic, and neither was he ever known to throw his weight around. As for being a drug addict, nothing could be further from the truth.

This book explores the reality behind the myth of this remarkable man.

Five Victorian Ghost Novels

Various authors

Bleiler, E. F. , January 5, 2011

Summary: Features five masterpieces of supernatural horror: “The Uninhabited House” by Mrs. J. H. Riddell; “The Amber Witch” by J. W. Meinhold; “Monsieur Maurice” by Amelia B. Edwards; “A Phantom Lover” by Vernon Lee; and “The Ghost of Muir House” by Charles Beale. Six illustrations by Philip Burne-Jones and Maria Beale are also included.

A History of Violence: From the End of the Middle Ages to the Present
Muchembled, Robert
Polity Press –
Summary: Violence is so much in the news today that we may find it hard to believe that it is less prevalent than it was in the past. But this is exactly what the distinguished historian Robert Muchembled argues in this major new work on the history of violence. He shows that brutality and homicide have been in decline since the thirteenth century. The thesis of a ‘civilizing process’, of a gradual taming, even sublimation, of violence, seems, therefore, to be well-founded.

How are we to explain this decline in public displays of aggression? What mechanisms have modernizing societies employed to repress and control violence? The increasingly strict social control of unmarried, male adolescents, together with the coercive education imposed on this age group, are central to Muchembled’s explanation. Masculine violence gradually disappeared from public space, to become concentrated in the home. Meanwhile, a vast popular literature, precursor of the modern mass media, came to play a cathartic role: the duels of The Three Musketeers and the amazing exploits of Fantômas, as described in the new crime literature invented in the nineteenth century, now helped to purge the violent impulses.

And yet we seem, in the first few years of the twenty-first century, to be witnessing a resurgence of violence, especially among the youths of the inner cities. How should we understand this resurgence in relation to the long history of violence in the West?

Crime City: Manchester’s Victorian Underworld
O’Neill, Joseph
Milo Books Ltd – December 27, 2011
Summary: Victorian Manchester was once described as a ‘city of two classes’, a rogue’s paradise where vast wealth sat beside grinding poverty. It was unique, and so was its underworld.

Historian Joseph O’Neill recreates the sights, sounds and smells of a lost milieu in all their fascinating detail. He chronicles the era’s crooks, cracksmen, pimps, prostitutes, conmen, garrotters and bareknuckle fighters, and the gin palaces, dance halls and cheap brothels that were as much a part of Manchester as giant cotton mills. .

Here are legendary detective Jerome Caminada, the super-criminal Charlie Peace, street gangs like the Bengal Tigers, and myriad other characters like One-Armed Dick, the infamous fence, all denizens of a time when brutality was commonplace and death lurked down every alley.


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