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The House that Jack Built: Jack the Ripper, Legend and the Power of the Unknown

  • Clive Bloom
Part of the Insights book series

Abstract

Jack of Hearts, Jack O’Lantern, Jack the Giant-Killer, Jack the Lad — ‘Jack’ is a common name that represents ubiquity: the nomenclature of the ordinary. In the nineteenth century there was only one Jack — the Ripper; of the famous nineteenth-century criminals this one alone has endured into legend. Of Charlie Peace, Neill Cream or Israel Lipski little is remembered; of other famous murders only the victim is recalled: Maria Marten offering herself to melodrama and Fanny Adams to a coarse joke. Jack survives, but not merely because he was not caught.

Keywords

Nineteenth Century Human Science Dual Nature Moral Awareness Secret Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    ‘In appearance, a paper of the 1890s was a product substantially the same as our own … the phrase “new journalism” was first used by the poet Matthew Arnold of the lively work of the Pall Mall Gazette and its competitors in the late 1880s. This was indeed the seedbed of the twentieth century commercial popular press…. There was also a new group of evening papers circulating in London and going out aggressively for new readers…. It was these evening papers which first educated the morning papers into editorial policies suitable for the masses. Kennedy Jones and Alfred Hamsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) worked out their ideas for mass journalism for there was a new generation emerging in the years after the Great Exhibition of 1851 which had great curiosity but little education’ — Anthony Smith, The Newspaper: An International History (London: Thames and Hudson, 1979) pp. 153–4.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Letters quoted by C. M. McCleod in The Criminologist, no. 9 (1968) 120–7.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stephen Knight, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (London: Grafton, 1976).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    T. A. Critchley, A History of Police in England and Wales (London: Constable, 1978) p. 161.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Stories, ed. Jenni Calder (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983.) All quotations from the story are from this edition. Page references are given in the text.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    James Berry, My Life as an Executioner, ed. Jonathan Goodman (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1972).Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, tr. Alan Sheridan (London: Allen Lane, 1977) p. 53.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Gordon Honeycomb, The Murders of the Black Museum 1870–1970 (London: Hutchinson, 1982).Google Scholar
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    René Girand, Violence and the Sacred, tr. Patrick Gregory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977).Google Scholar
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    René Girard, ‘Myth and Ritual in Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Textual Strategies, ed. Josué V. Harrari (London: Methuen, 1980) pp. 189–212.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© the Editorial Board, Lumiere (Co-operative) Press Ltd 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clive Bloom

There are no affiliations available

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