The Victorian Celebration of Death by James Stevens Curl

The Victorian Celebration of Death

In this beautifully illustrated and well-researched book Professor Curl has rescued much fascinating material from undeserved oblivion, and his work fills a genuine gap. From humble working-class exequies to the massive outpouring of grief at the State funerals of Wellington and Queen Victoria herself, The Victorian Celebration of Death covers an immense canvas. It describes the change in sensibility that led to a new tenderness towards the dead;...

Details The Victorian Celebration of Death

TitleThe Victorian Celebration of Death
Release DateJan 25th, 2005
PublisherSutton Publishing
GenreHistory, Death, Nonfiction, Historical, Victorian, European Literature, British Literature

Reviews The Victorian Celebration of Death

  • Sarah
    I can see why James Curl is The Cemetery Guy: he seems to know the ins and outs of every law, reform crusade, and aesthetic movement that contributed to the establishment of modern cemeteries. Unfortunately, this leads his book to be drier than the occupants of said cemeteries. Also Curl, disappointingly, barely covers other aspects of Victorian mourning, cramming information about waking, clothing, mourning customs, hair jewelry, the crepe trade...
  • Jillian
    I end up reading strange things while killing time at the library (pardon the pun). The information about funereal traditions and Victorian culture was quite interesting, though I ended up skimming the drier sections on land sales, business, and architecture. Curl is very passionate about his subject though, and I have no doubt the "lavishly illustrated" second edition is even better than the one I read.
  • Don
    Extremely well-written and lavishly illustrated.
  • Matt Bashore
    The author obviously spent a lifetime researching the move from churchyard burials to suburban cemeteries. But most of it does not make interesting reading, especially in his highly-detailed, disjointed, repetitive style. However, I enjoyed the slightly more cohesive first chapter on Victorian funerary processions, fashions, jewelry, etc., and there were some interesting (and often grotesque) facts scattered throughout.It does contain one of the ...
  • P.H.G. Haslam
    Curl's style is delightfully over the top. But it is true... the way society treats its dead is reflective of it. Despite getting a little bogged-down in the details of legislation, this is a romantic and passionate approach to the topic.
  • Nurture Waratah
    This could have been a very interesting topic, but the writing is boring and repetitive. I gave up after page sixteen.