Underground Truths: Sweeney Todd, Cannibalism, and Discourse Control

  • Anna Gasperini
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter connects issues of power and discourse control in Sweeney Todd and the Anatomy Act. It explores the idea of medicine and/as monstrosity through the narrative’s characters, spaces, and their correlation to narratives of medicine and/or murder and/or cannibalism—fictional and non-fictional—that already belonged to Victorian London’s culture and spaces. The concept of truth introduced in the previous chapter addresses here dynamics of inclusion and exclusion of a constituency from certain discourses, that is, the notion of ‘taboo’ discourse, which in this case regards the disposal of the paupers’ bodies in Victorian London. The chapter also introduces the concept of ‘vertical space’ as an intrinsic feature of Victorian London’s space, and deeply interwoven with medicine in the metropolis.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Gasperini
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarPerugiaItaly

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