Mayhem. A word that conjures up images of the dark underworld in England. Victorian England with all the surface morality carried a dark tradition that lingered right underneath. This was especially prevalent in the writings of detective stories during this time period. The stories were often filled with treacherous villains, many times working in conjunction to commit terrible crimes. The types of crimes which the individuals in literature would find such a murder, fraud theft etc were all given colorful terms covered in euphemism, naturally the Victorian age was enamored with euphemisms rather than the blunt use of the word. The term mayhem deals with the direct damage and harm upon an individual. The most direct usage of the very idea of mayhem would deal directly with Jack the Ripper. Jack The RIpper a true horror story of the Victorian Age is the perfect representation of what the idea oft mayhem was all about. Inspired by this true life monster the fictionalized accounts or representations of his crimes would be married to the literature of the time which helped to create the tradition of mayhem. The Victorian tradition of mayhem was in fact inspired by the crimes of the era.
August 4, 2011 - 12:00 am