This two-volume anthology charts the socioeconomic, cultural, and psychological anxieties that shaped nineteenth-century British literature and popular culture. In a rapidly changing world, in an era marked by unprecedented prosperity and widespread poverty, the Victorians aggressively policed—and clandestinely crossed—increasingly porous and unstable boundaries. Crime and Horror in Victorian Literature and Culture maps the nineteenth-century British preoccupation with phenomena that rattled Western middle-class subjectivity: criminality, monstrosity, sexual transgression, alien cultures, and the breakdown of social norms. Ranging widely, both chronologically and generically, the anthology provides examples of short and long fiction, poetry, plays, government reports, journalism, social criticism, and polemic from 1829 to 1904. It includes writing on criminology, colonialism, racism, prostitution, sexual exploitation, prison, and capital punishment. Other topics include atypical bodies, mental illness, suicide, and homelessness.
Volume I is organized around four rubrics: the slum; the criminal mind; power and punishment; and streetwalking. With a wide range of primary source material and extensive annotations, this volume includes texts out of print since the late nineteenth century, as well as Arthur Morrison’s slum novel A Child of the Jago, and works by Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Browning, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Harriet Martineau, Frances Power Cobbe, Marie Corelli, and many others.