City of Dreadful Delight by Judith R. Walkowitz

City of Dreadful Delight

From tabloid exposes of child prostitution to the grisly tales of Jack the Ripper, narratives of sexual danger pulsated through Victorian London. Expertly blending social history and cultural criticism, Judith Walkowitz shows how these narratives reveal the complex dramas of power, politics, and sexuality that were being played out in late nineteenth-century Britain, and how they influenced the language of politics, journalism, and fiction.Victor...

Details City of Dreadful Delight

TitleCity of Dreadful Delight
Release DateOct 15th, 1992
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Historical, Victorian, Sexuality, Feminism

Reviews City of Dreadful Delight

  • Miriam
    London, James Thomson's "City of Dreadful Night" --The City is of Night, but not of Sleep; There sweet sleep is not for the weary brain;The pitiless hours like years and ages creep, A night seems termless hell. This dreadful strainOf thought and consciousness which never ceases, Or which some moments' stupor but increases, This, worse than woe, makes wretches there insane.They leave all hope behind who enter there: One certitude while sane they c...
  • Jasmine
    I'd say 2/3 of this book is quotes. And not whole sentences, but words. Lonely words. "Like" this. Even "the" Jack the Ripper chapter was "boring", "and" hard to "get through". Now "imagine" 250 "pages" of this "type of writing" with often no idea who the qoutes are from, and you'd get bored too. However, one thing was extremely interesting. Even in victorian days, when the women were dressed literally (!!) from head to toe, it was their fault th...
  • DoctorM
    A look at the ways late-Victorian media shaped social crusades and visions of social (meaning sexual and cultural) danger in 1880s London Town. The book takes the Jack the Ripper murders as the center of Walkowitz's tale, and discusses the way the middle-class press used the killings to polish and shape their own political agendas regarding the poor (hapless, helpless, dangerous, misguided) and the rich (predatory, depraved, enviable)...and of co...
  • Annie
    One of the few books that has made it through all of my moves. Walkowitz effortlessly weaves tales of not just sexual danger, but also, and perhaps more significantly, anecdotes of the palpable tension between the classes, most notably during the months when Jack the Ripper terrorized the city. The book, from chapter to chapter, in essence tells the story of western male chauvinism that was prevalent not just in London, but she tells it from the ...
  • Sarah
    This book is a MASTERWORK in cultural and gender history. Combines incredibly dynamic and fluid writing, meticulous, thorough detail of archival research, and broad-scope interests and awareness. Not only a wonderful study of Jack the Ripper and the social and cultural pressures that made that figure possible, but also of the creation of the modern news media and normative as well as radical social groups that interweave throughout those other st...
  • Fraser Sherman
    Walkowitz argues that when Jack the Ripper began his killing spree, the media and the public interpreted the case in the light of longstanding debates about women's role in London, fallen women, the working-class poor and the risk of violence to women who transgressed their chosen place. For anyone interested in women's lives in Victorian Britain, this is really informative, showing how they functioned (often against opposition) as philanthropist...
  • Cory Blystone
    In an era known for its virtuous veneer, it's nice to uncover the scandalously seedy dark side.
  • Char
    So I read this for my Jack the Ripper class. An excellent resource, and a lovely read for the feminist historian. Really gives an excellent view of gender relations in Late-Victorian London, gives overviews on the prominent figures of the time and the prominent issues, such as the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, W.T. Stead, the Men and Women's Club, etc. Not something I'd read for fun, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
  • Stacy Schmidt
    I read this for a History of Sexuality course in my graduate program 10 years ago. I remember it being pretty interesting, but I'm a bit hazy on the details. If you're interested in women's history and issues of sexuality, it's a good read.
  • David Vaughan
    Tried to make more of the modern feminist viewpoint than the historical trajectories it purported to discuss - and consequently achieved neither to any great degree. Occasional worthwhile facts but less frequent discursive excellence, in my opinion.
  • ๖ۣۜSαᴙαh ๖ۣۜMᴄĄłłiƨʈeʀ
    Fascinating from beginning to end. Not only was the narrative easy to grasp, it also gave me a better understanding of that horrid Michel Foucault and his almost senseless theories. Don't judge me. It was my first time studying his work.
  • Rogue Reader
    Given the title, I expected more of a pot boiler, but instead found an extensive academic dissertation. A woman's domestic role leaves little freedom within a male power structure. Her options are limited, and her very being is at risk in every arena inside the home and without.
  • William
    Aside from the fact that this kind of book is entirely not my cup of tea, CoDD presents a thorough and clear narrative.
  • Genevieve
    I thought a book about Jack the Ripper would be more interesting . . . but maybe I just don't like the linguistic turn . . .
  • Tessa
    I liked all the details in this book. The structure of the book was a bit odd, but I think it makes sense after it's completely read.
  • Alex
    The first two chapters aren't bad, but the book goes downhill from there.
  • Jeremy Raper
    Read it for a university course; a bit of a slog and not really that compelling subject matter (to me). Would recommend to academics in the field only.
  • Benson Hawk
    JRW is, well, JRW. Brilliant, a beautiful wordsmith, and a cultural theorist par excellence. It doesn't get better than this.
  • Sheryl
    Another academic history that is quite appealing to a general audience.