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Death and the Tourist: Dark Encounters in Mid-Nineteenth-Century London via the Paris Morgue

  • John Edmondson
Chapter

Abstract

The Paris Morgue was open to the public for most of the nineteenth century and constitutes an extreme example of death-related tourism. This chapter begins with an analysis of the Morgue as a tourist attraction through journalism, travel narratives, novels and guidebooks. The texts examined suggest several motivations for Morgue visiting, arising both from the nature of tourism and from the relationship of the living to the dead. Bearing in mind these motivations, the focus then shifts to manifestations of death-related tourism in mid-nineteenth-century London: the popularization of murder cases and murderers, the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussaud’s, the touristic attractions of murder trials, prison visits and murder sites, the portrayals of violent death in such entertainments as peep shows and panoramas, and the popularity of anatomical museums and mummy unrolling. While all these examples situate the corpse, or things and places associated with it, as spectacle, and essentially derive their power of attraction from the perception of the corpse as an Other, an alternative form of death-related tourism appears to be driven by the desire to establish an emotional connection with the dead. The chapter therefore concludes with a discussion of grave visiting and the associated significance of place, thing and memory.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Edmondson
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarLondonUK

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