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Victorian Studies in Scarlet Hardcover – 1970


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton & Co; 1st edition (1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393086054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393086058
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,451,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Leitner on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you really want to research the Victorian fascination with murder, this is your book. Richard Altick is one of those writers who can turn chapters of forensic detail into a page turner. My personal interest was in the use of details of nineteenth century murders in the fiction writing of such authors as Dickens, Collins,and Gaskell, to name a few. I recommend this book and any other that Altick has written.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Hawk on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With an entry entitled "The Man Who Trained Nude Bicyclists" one would expect a book such as this to contain at least some interest. Unfortunately, it does not. "Victorian Studies in Scarlet" suffers from a flip-flopping tone with little focus, and little offered in terms of insight or depth. Note that those two things are different from sensationalism, which the book thankfully avoids to a decent degree.

The first several chapters are concerned with "the Victorian delight in murder as a social phenomenon" as Altick examines the era's fascination with all things gory. He recaps key points in several infamous cases, such as the Red Barn murder, Burke and Hare, etc. and how they relate to phenomena such as the penny dreadful and gothic novels. Although his sections on Corder and the Red Barn are well done (here and in the latter half, which contains examinations of a dozen different cases) little is given that you will not find in other books. Yes, there can be little said that is new granted time's passage, but he just seems to be very slapdash in his accounts, giving very brief summary most of the time instead of really getting to the meat of the matter, i.e. how the time defines the crime. His account on TN Cream is especially poor in this manner, and I found it a sign of the book's lacking nature that Altick refers to Jack the Ripper frequently throughout the book but he has no single section on the case. All in all, the book is one to avoid if you are looking for a serious consideration of the matter.
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