Clarke: Wilde and Stevenson

Reading the city and identity in fin de siecle crime fiction

Clare Clarke, Queen’s University Belfast

Summer 2005

hydeEmbarking upon this essay my aim is to examine how and why the London cityscape may be read as a map of fin de siecle identity in the crime fictions of the time. In order to unpack and problematize this assumption I want to study in more detail representations of space, class, and identity in two key fin de siecle crime texts;The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (hereafter JH), and The Picture of Dorian Gray (hereafter DG). Reading contemporary journalism and theory alongside these texts I plan to examine: firstly, how the recurring theme of duality reflects a genuinely fractured city in terms of class, looking closely at the perceived divisions of the city along a high/low, East/West geographical axis. I also want to look at how the gothic modality in particular was appropriated and resituated in urban fin de siecle London in these novels. Finally, I want to examine the practice of gentlemen ‘going native’ in seedy parts of London, interrogating the concept of the flaneur.

Firstly I want to examine what social and cultural factors presuppose recurring fictional representations of the city such as this one from DG where London and its inhabitants are presented not simply as backdrop to crime but as inherently fearful and threatening entities in themselves,

He remembered wandering through dimly-lit streets, past gaunt black-shadowed archways and evil-looking houses. Women with hoarse voices and harsh laughter had called after him. Drunkards had reeled by cursing, and chattering to themselves like monstrous apes. He had seen grotesque children huddled upon doorsteps, and heard shrieks and oaths from gloomy courts” (114).

This was an extremely unstable time when cultural trends were, as Beckson puts it, “moving in two simultaneously antithetical directions” (xiv). Fin de siecle London was poised on the brink of modernity but was struggling to contain its massifying public within ill equipped Victorian confines. It was also a city divided, both socially and geographically, by class with an enormous gulf between the rich and the poor. Vast numbers of the poor were ghettoized in the atrocious confines of 18th Century ‘rookeries’ where, without proper plumbing, sewerage, or street lighting, and with residents often unable to adequately feed and clothe themselves, vice and crime naturally proliferated. This manifested itself in the prevalence of what Luckhurst and Ledger describe as: “a discourse of degenerative urban blight and a set of representations of the poor in which the ‘residuum’ are more feared than pitied” (xv).

Examining these “discourses of urban blight”, their dissemination to a mass literate voracious readership, and the fictional representations of London’s underbelly is crucial to our understanding of the public’s fear of the city itself.

Representations of the living conditions of the London poor were originally conveyed to educated readers not only in literary texts but in low forms such as the urban anthropological studies of the 1860s by George Sims and others. In these surveys, journeys into the poorer districts were undertaken and documented by educated gentlemen with the reassuringly accompaniment of policemen or minders. One such study, “More Revelations of Bethnal Green”, dating from 1863, sombrely concludes: “We have returned from the inspection saddened and ill. We have written of it coolly, but it was a sight to move indignation”; whilst these studies may, then, have begun in the spirit of true altruism, over the next few decades some were seen to become increasingly sensationalist and polemical, and hence popular as forms of entertainment rather than education.

It may be useful at this point to look closely at the prevalent fictional trope of the labyrinth in order to explore the intertextual relationship between this emerging sensational journalistic reportage of crime in the city and the fictions of the time. This motif is utilized by both Stevenson and Wilde in their descriptions of the underworld of the city; Dorian Gray goes out after his first enlightening encounter with Wotton and “wandered eastward, soon losing my way in a labyrinth of grimy streets and black, grassless squares” (84), and Utterson is haunted by images of Hyde gliding swiftly and stealthily “through wider labyrinths of lamp-lighted city” (20).  It was in fact in W.T Stead’s seminal salacious exposé of the night time activities of gentlemen in the city; ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’ that the labyrinth image first became impressed upon the popular imagination. Stead applied the metaphor of the Minoan labyrinth to the practice of virgins being procured into prostitution and subsequently imprisoned in the London underworld:

This very night in London, and every night, year in and year out, not seven maidens only, but many times seven, selected almost as much by chance as those who in the Athenian market-place drew lots as to which should be thrown into the Cretan labyrinth, will be offered up as the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon…Within that labyrinth wander, like lost souls, the vast host of London prostitutes” (34).

What then were the reasons which motivated Wilde and Stevenson amongst others to wilfully appropriate this labyrinth motif when rendering representations of the London underbelly?

In his Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction Robert Mighall astutely points out that:

A closely-knit collection of courts and alleys is one thing-an observable topographical phenomenon that can be charted by cartographers- a ‘labyrinth’ remains a figure of speech…And yet even as such urban districts were mapped and explored…they were nevertheless subject to the poeticized figuration associated with the labyrinth…To label even the most crowded architectural complex ‘labyrinthine’ reveals less about its actual location than the concerns of the perceiver. (33)

Unfortunately though, Mighall leaves his discussion there without addressing the reasons why the city is still subject to this “poetized figuration” as labyrinth and what exactly he believes the “concerns of the perceiver” are. Taking this next step then, if “The fear of the ‘beast within’ was the nineteenth century’s fear of itself” (Dryden, 76), to aestheticize the labyrinth as do Stevenson and Wilde is not so much to reveal their concerns about the city but is to sensationalize and perpetuate its mythic fearful status, and to manipulate and enflame the reader’s terror of the ‘beast within’.

Stevenson, in presenting a faux-documentary style account of the emergence of the “roaring” (80) atavistic beast from within the divided self, exploited an emerging belief that humanity itself was succumbing to retrogressive tendencies that threatened the moral fabric of society. These sorts of ideas informed Nordau’s seminal Degeneration and Lombroso’s investigations into the criminal personality, and would have been so well known at the time that Stephen Arata feels confident to assert that, “In Edward Hyde, Stevenson’s first readers could easilydiscern the lineaments of Cesare Lombroso’s atavistic criminal.” (italics mine) He goes on, “Stevenson’s middle-class readers would have had as little trouble deciphering the features of the ‘abnormal and misbegotten’ Hyde, his ‘body an imprint of deformity and decay,’ as Stevenson’s middle-class characters do.”(1)

As both Arata and Dryden point out, however, these theories did not focus solely on the lower classes. Indeed, Nordau stresses that the “stigmata” of degeneration are most often observed in “rich, educated people” with too much leisure time which leads to an inevitable susceptibility to “decadence and depravity”(15). Both Edward Hyde, and indeed Dorian Gray, then, are figures that embody a bourgeois readership’s worst fears not only about the atavistic and marauding poor but also of the decadent and immoral upper classes. It is not my intention, however, merely to read JH and DG against contemporary theories about degeneration or criminal typing as I feel this has already been exhaustively well documented. Instead I want to focus on the class divisions that these types of theories entrenched within London’s citizens and how these divisions relate to the ways in which the body of the criminal is mapped out in the topography of fin de siecle London by Stevenson and Wilde.

It would, I feel, be useful to look more closely at the binaries of good and evil that are present in JH, examining how the converse sites of respectability and degeneration in the novel may not be as simply demarcated as they first appear. On first inspection Stevenson appears to situate JH in locations which neatly characterize and reinforce their diverse personae; Jekyll’s potion fulfils his desire that, “the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness…could be housed in separate identities” (70). Indeed, his two selves are housed in separate, quite socially diverse areas of London. When Utterson goes in search of Hyde he finds himself in a place like “like a district of some city in a nightmare” (32), and this section of his narrative evokes a distinctly Gothic atmosphere.

This foray into a section of the city which is “dark like the back-end of evening” (31) at nine in the morning, and is littered with gin palaces, shops selling penny dreadfuls, and “many ragged children huddled in doorways, and many women of different nationalities passing out, key in hand, to have a morning glass” (31), puts Utterson firmly in the category of ‘urban explorer’. Stevenson here is surely playing with the middle class readers increasing appetite for what Luckhurst and Ledger call “sensationalist accounts of urban poverty and moral squalor” (25).

The location of Hyde’s lodging in Soho, which is surrounded by the higher class districts of Mayfair and Pall Mall is topographically metaphorical for Hyde’s residence within respectable Jekyll. In turn the physiognomy of each character, and also that of their servants, mirrors their location and serves to reinforce the related stereotypes of each. In Hyde’s appearance there is “something displeasing, something downright detestable” (15) and “wicked-looking” (31); Jekyll, by contrast is described as “well-made” and “smooth-faced” (26). The characteristics of their servants further strengthen this dichotomy; Hyde’s landlady, has an “evil face, smoother by hypocrisy” which flashes with “odious joy” on her introduction to Inspector Newcomen: “‘Ah!’ said she, ‘he is in trouble! What has he done?’”(32). Loyalty, compassion and decency are all qualities emphatically absent from the characters of the typical inhabitant of Soho. These traits are in direct contrast to the discretion of Poole and Jekyll’s other servants whose instincts are to protect their master.

Whilst these rather striking contrasts are obviously deliberately employed by Stevenson to invoke certain stereotypes relating to class, to leave an analysis of location and class in JH at that is to miss out on some of the more disruptive things happening in the text which begin to deconstruct the positioning of good and evil or high and low along a binarily opposed geographical axis. Indeed, Mighall points out how ultimately, “Stevenson’s Strange Case is a case of transgression…It depicts the horror that ensues when the divisions which Jekyll constructs are unsustainable.”(151)

This transgression is figured using some of the common tropes of Gothic fiction-secrets, doorways, locked rooms and imprisonment. Ultimately, this is the story of what happens when secrets and people cannot any longer be contained behind closed doors. Jekyll desires freedom, and on his first night as Hyde his liberation is defined in opposition to that of “the inmates” (72) of his oppressive respectable house who remain imprisoned or “locked in the most rigorous hours of slumber” (72). Jekyll delights in the “impenetrable mantle” (75) of invisibility that his alter-ego affords him, and Hyde penetrates the city in ways which Jekyll apparently cannot. Interestingly it is this freedom of movement which appears to upset Jekyll’s circle most; as Utterson emphatically remarks: “Things cannot continue as they are. It turns me quite cold to think of this creature stealing like a thief to Harry’s bedside” (25). If Hyde was a district in London he would be Soho-their characteristics are perfectly complementary and such is the extent of his and Soho’s ‘otherness’ that if he remains in his area Utterson and Jekyll’s other respectable friends are not threatened by him. Hyde, however, does not remain ‘in his place’; he has a key to and the freedom of Jekyll’s house. Significantly it is this ability to transgress geographical and social boundaries which affronts Utterson and signifies to him Hyde’s need to be contained. As such Hyde represents the upper classes’ fear of being somehow tainted with the degeneracy associated with London’s ‘low’ districts.

Stevenson is not, however, presenting us with a simple East/West binary in which good or bad is situated only in clearly demarcated areas. Rather he is suggesting and manipulating his readers’ fear of a potentially much more threatening phenomenon-the proximity of danger to respectable life. Closer inspection of Jekyll’s outwardly prosperous area shows that the houses are now “for their most part decayed from their high estate and let in flats and chambers to all sorts and conditions of men” (23). The loss of previous respectability hints that all is not morally sound behind the façade, and indeed, it is only “round the corner” (23) where we find the “blistered and distained” (11) door of a “sinister block or building” bearing “the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence” (11) that marks Hyde’s entrance to the property.

Looking at another fin de siecle crime fiction of duality-The Picture of Dorian Gray-which was written some two years later than JH and, significantly, after the Whitechapel murders-Wilde shows a London much more clearly divided in terms of class. Ironically, however, the locus of terror is the decadent upper-class West End. Serialization of DG began in Lippincott’s Magazine vol. 46 no.271 in July 1890 at a time when immorality and vice had recently been exposed as being endemic in the city of London by the successive journalistic exposes such as ‘The Maiden Tribute’ and ‘The Cleveland Street Affair’1, and prolonged prurient coverage of The Ripper murders. Concerns over the moral health of the nation had never been greater and to publish a story showing rottenness and corruption rife throughout polite upper-class society, and not merely confined to the main character, set this apart from what Stevenson had done with JH and showed great audacity.

There followed, however, great public uproar at the corruption and suggestions of homosexuality within the story which may have been instigated by its reviews; The DailyChronicle described it as “a poisonous book, the atmosphere of which is heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction”, and the Scots Observer objected that, “it is not made sufficiently clear that the writer does not prefer a course of unnatural iniquity to a life of cleanliness, health and sanity”. Because of the outcry Ward, Lock and Co were forced to withdraw copies and the Lippincott’s version had to be revised; Wilde then added six chapters and removed many of the overt references to homosexuality for the book’s publication the following year.

This was then, an altogether more subversive portrait of the criminal psyche and the city than Stevenson’s. Isobel Murray suggests Wilde is certainly echoing JH but “has a very different story to tell…different in its essence from Stevenson’s grim sermon about evil that seems gratifyingly horrible and untempting to all but the unfortunate Henry Jekyll.” (316) Whilst I agree with the first part of her assessment I’m not convinced, however, by the inference that Dorian’s life is in some way an appealing one-certainly he enjoys many of the consumerist trappings of status and wealth- but his social circle are on the whole much more self-serving than Jekyll’s fraternity who attempt to preserve his reputation.

Post Ripper murders the divisions between East and West became greater than ever. By this time, says Judith Walkowitz, “explorations into the terra incognita of the London poor increasingly relied on the East/West opposition …Whitechapel had come to epitomize the social ills of ‘Outcast London’.” (19,193). In the documentation of the murders by the press the:

sensational landscape was juxtaposed to descriptions of the more mundane features of the poor…this physical evocation was not intended to elicit human sympathy for the ‘people’ of Whitechapel as much as to promote an ‘argument from geography’ about the territorially based nature of the crime. Newspaper reports applied Lamarckian theories of urban degeneration to the Whitechapel horrors, diagnosing them as the product of a diseased environment whose ‘neglected human refuse’ bred crime.”(194-195)

Whilst Wilde situates his criminal protagonist in the West, he also utilizes this public perception of the divided geography of the city figuratively to underpin the thematic dualism of the novel, with spaces and places mapping the preoccupations of Dorian’s psyche. Thus, his commitment to the pursuits of hedonism and decadence are mirrored in the elegance of his fashionable Grosvenor Square home, and his darker vices are undertaken in and mirrored by the Gothic surroundings of East London.

Dorian’s initial forays into the London underbelly are initially articulated in terms strikingly similar to those of Jekyll’s. Compare Dorian’s, “I had a passion for sensations…I felt that this grey, monstrous London of ours, with its myriads of people, its sordid sinners…must have something in store for me…The mere danger of it gave me a sense of delight”(84) with Jekyll’s,

There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new  and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet…I was conscious of a heady recklessness…an unknown but not innocent freedom of the soul…the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine”(72).

In their almost ghoulish passions for any sensations they appear to invoke the mood from Poe’s intriguing and Gothic presentation of doubling; ‘The Man of the Crowd’, in which Poe describes the need to indulge “moods which are so precisely the converse of ennui-moods of keenest appetency…I derived positive pleasure even from…sources of pain” (1).

Like Hyde Dorian seeks out his nefarious pleasures in the East End, however, Wilde is more explicit about the nature of these indulgences than Stevenson. For one, Dorian smokes opium, evidenced by his “mad craving” for the “green paste, waxy in lustre” (184) that he secretes in his dresser. The late-night excursion in search of the drug is one of the most vividly rendered passages in the novel with Dorian’s drug withdrawal leading to nightmarish, almost hallucinogenic, visions of the city. The East End cab ride is figured like a journey through the streets of Hell itself:

The moon hung low like a yellow skull…The gas-lamps grew fewer, and the streets more narrow and gloomy…the way seemed interminable, and the streets like the black web of some sprawling spider…as they turned a corner a woman yelled something at then from an open door, and two men ran after the hansom…Ugliness was the one reality. The coarse brawl, the loathsome den, the crude violence of disordered life” (185-86)

The unlit and filthy alleys of Whitechapel during the Ripper murders are evoked here, as can be seen by the striking similarities of Wilde’s description and this 1888 journalistic account of “An Autumn evening in Whitechapel”:

Since these outrages the dark places of Whitechapel and Spitalfields have undoubtedly been a little darker and stiller, and more depressing…Turn down this side street out of the main Whitechapel Road…The street is oppressively dark, though at present the gloom is relieved by somewhat feebly lighted shopfronts. Men are lounging at the doors of the shops, smoking evil-smelling pipes. Women with bare heads and with their arms under their aprons are sauntering about in twos and threes, or are seated gossiping on steps leading into passages as dark as Erebus…It is getting on into the night, but gutters, and doorways, and passages, and staircases appear to be teeming with children.

Walkowitz observes how Booth and his investigators had employed a “moral and visual semiotics” (34) to identify the levels of respectability of London’s streets- signifiers of an unsavoury area would be open doors, women gossiping in doorways, and children playing in the streets. These are, of course, also almost exactly the signs noted in the journalistic account and which are employed by Stevenson as well as Wilde as signifiers of the squalor of the East End.

Dorian’s contempt for the inhabitants of the East End and vice versa displays what, post-Ripper murders, was a very real social rupture in the city along a geographical East/West axis. The upper class’s fear of the degenerative urban poor was countered by theories that the Ripper was a gentleman like Dorian Gray or Hyde ‘going native’ and reached its logical conclusion in the ‘Royal Ripper’ conspiracy theory which still has currency today. As the Star, a newspaper on the political left, commented on 14 September 1888: “Neighbourhoods go mad like individuals, and, while the West sits discussing the Whitechapel horrors over its wine, the East is seething with impatience, distrust, horror. What a situation!” The voracity of which seems to be confirmed by the ease with which Dorian recovers from the news of Sibyl’s death, for which he feels responsible,

So I have murdered Sibyl Vane…murdered her as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife. Yet the roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden. And to-night I am to dine with you, and then go to the opera, and sup somewhere, I suppose afterwards. (121)

Wilde evidently exploited these perspectives of a divided city in creating a novel of terror which draws on the fears of schismatic London.

Because of their ability to negotiate both the high and low districts of the city Linda Dryden makes the, I feel, rather specious, leap of asserting that, “Dorian Gray and Henry Wotton are flâneurs, so too are Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde” (58). She comes to this conclusion via Judith Walkowitz and Peter Barto saying:

The notion of flânerie necessarily implies a sense of ownership of the city by the male…Flânerie relied on the leisure to roam at will to take in the sights and atmosphere of the city…These fictional flâneurs perambulate the city seeking pleasures to satisfy their leisured boredom and their taste for excitement. Most likely their flânerie is not passive… (58)

This idea of passivity is the key to my criticism of Dryden’s hypothesis and where her line of reasoning appears to begin to deconstruct itself. Both Dorian Gray and Mr Hyde are undoubtedly figures similar to that of Henry James as described by Judith Walkowitz, in their ability to negotiate “the divided spaces of the metropolis” with “a right not traditionally available to, often not even part of, the imaginative repertoire of the less advantaged” (16). The similarity ends here though; James negotiates the city for the sport of “urban spectatorship” (1) and is an entirely benign and notably non-interactive presence. The notion of flânerie then, suggests a desire to read the text of the city without affecting its narrative. Indeed as Walkowitz notes, “These practices presupposed a privileged male subject whose identity was stable, coherent, autonomous” whose desire was “through reason” to establish a knowledge of “’man’ and his world”. (16)

What Dryden ignores in the formation of her hypothesis then is the fact that both Dorian and Hyde2 have a Foucaldian dialectical relationship with the spaces they occupy, in which both the spaces and the identities are formed and changed by their interactions. The figure of the flaneur, on the other hand, should be a voyeur who desires to observe and merge with the urban crowd and who, significantly, should not change it. As Baudelaire wrote,

For the perfect flaneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive…The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd.”(9)

In order to illustrate Dorian and Hyde’s anti– flânerie it may be useful to look at how they each interact with the urban crowd, bearing in mind Baudelaire’s description of how the “perfect flaneur” would behave.

Hyde’s only encounter with the urban crowd, interestingly, is witnessed by the respectable Mr Richard Enfield “coming home from some place at the end of the world” (11) – a fleeting reference to the acceptability of the practice of gentlemen’s night-time excursions into seedy parts of the city. When Hyde assaults the child, the word “trampled” (11) perhaps metaphorically suggesting a sexual violation, the crowd that gathers is figured less as entertaining spectacle and more as threatening animalistic presence which in many ways prefigures Gustave Le Bon’s 1895 study of the psychology of the mob, in which he observes that,

by the mere fact that he forms part of an organised crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation…in a crowd, he is a barbarian-that is a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity…of primitive beings.” (60) Indeed Enfield describes how he and the Sawbones “were keeping the women off him as best we could, for they were as wild as harpies. I never saw a circle of such hateful faces” (12).

It is interesting how despite the fact that Enfield and the doctor both profess to feel a “desire to kill” (12) Hyde they close rank around him and protect him from the animalistic group of women, and how, as Arata has observed; “Enfield refers to him with the politeness due to a social equal, consistently calling him ‘my gentleman’ or ‘my man’” (1). The homosocial bonding of the bourgeois is here shown to be as primal as is the atavistic rage of the crowd. What is certain, though, from this encounter is that for Hyde it is not “an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude” and neither the crowd nor Hyde is unchanged by their encounter.

Dorian Gray and Wotton encounter the urban crowd at the theatre where Sibyl Vane performs; as Dryden observes “the Hoxton/Holborn location of Isaac’s theatre posits a social watershed where the classes meet on the edges of two very divergent communities.”(126) The surroundings as perceived by Dorian and Henry are described in defamiliarised terms which emphasize their unpleasantness: “the heat was terribly oppressive, and the huge sunlight flamed like a monstrous dahlia with petals of yellow fire” and the voices of the crowd are “horribly shrill and discordant” (108). Dorian takes no pleasure from this environment but tries to assure Henry, “When she acts you will forget everything. These common, rough people, with their coarse faces and brutal gestures, become quite different when she is on stage…one feels that they are of the same flesh and blood as one’s self.” To which Wotton cynically retorts, “The same flesh and blood as one’s self! Oh, I hope not!” (108). Again there is none of the “immense joy” of Baudelaire’s flaneur in their urban spectatorship.

As Dorian’s search for greater debauchery and his ensuing depravity escalates throughout the course of the novel so his relationship with the urban underclass becomes more interactive and manipulative as is first suggested when Basil confronts him with the allegation that he is “man whom no pure-minded girl should be allowed to know, and whom no chaste woman should sit in the same room with” (159), and verified by the prostitute at the opium den who tells James Vane, “it’s nigh on eighteen years since Prince Charming made me what I am.” (191) Dorian Gray’s impact on the city of London then, like Hyde’s, is emphatically malign and parasitic emphasizing their total unsuitability for inclusion in the category of flâneur.

At the outset of this essay I was aware that there have already been many studies on the relationships between JHDG, and the city. What I wanted to explore was whether the city of London as presented in these texts accurately reflected the fractured nature of the fin de siecle psyche. With my analyses now complete I still agree with my initial hypothesis but feel that my study has, if only in some small way, begun to reveal the nuances and complexities of the issues involved. These fictions of duality were unquestionably inspired by the conditions of the age, the physical spaces of fin de siecle London reflected the clashing ideologies of the Victorian and the Modern and the city was indeed a fractured and volatile place, with divisions manifested along social and geographical lines. What is really interesting however, and what I found more unexpected, is the fact that these boundaries were not as clearly demarcated as one might think- a fact which is echoed in the profoundly intertextual relationship between ‘high’ and ‘low’ forms of writing, which in turn leads to the blurring of the boundaries between ‘low’ texts, ‘high’ texts, and life.

Stevenson would certainly have known about the ‘Maiden Tribute’ which emerged just before he began writing JH and the echoes of Stead in the text are clear. Two years after the publication of his strange tale the Ripper murders caused widespread fear and horror throughout all areas of London; emotions which were undoubtedly exacerbated by sensational reportage such as this from the Pall Mall Gazette where life was inferred to be imitating art, “There certainly seems to be a tolerably realistic impersonification of Mr Hyde at large in Whitechapel.” In the wake of these murders Wilde wrote DG and his narrative of duality and depravity enflamed the public’s post-Ripper fears, blurring the boundaries further still. Overall, then, what is most interesting about how identity can be seen to be mapped by these crime fictions is not simply what is happening in terms of spatial economies but rather in the ways that they begin to elucidate a genuinely interactive and dialectical relationship between art and reality which reflected the impact of a confusion of cultural forms upon the consciousness of the population at the time.


1 A West End Scandal, involving Lord Arthur Somerset, from the Prince of Wales’ household, and possibly also Prince Albert Victor – the eldest son of Prince Albert who was, at the time, second in line to the throne, in which the Pall Mall Gazette exposed how telegraph boys were being procured for a gay brothel at 19 Cleveland Street which catered to aristocratic gentlemen.

2Jekyll is so emphatically not a flâneur that I am not including him in my rebuttal. I feel that this is illustrated by my earlier discussion of  the fact that Jekyll needs to become Hyde in order to obtain the freedom to negotiate the divided spaces the city.

Works Cited

“An Autumn Evening in Whitechapel.” Littell’s Living Age. 3 November 1888. Casebook: Jack the Ripper 2 June 2005

“Another Murder-And More to Follow?” Pall Mall Gazette. 8 September 1888. Casebook: Jack the Ripper 2 June 2005 _reports/pall_mall_gazette/18880908.html

Arata, Stephen D. “The Sedulous Ape: Atavism, Professionalism, and Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde.” Criticism 37.2 (1995): 1-10. FindArticles. 4 May 2005

Baudelaire, Charles. “The Painter of Modern Life.” (1863) Charles Baudelaire: The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays. Ed and trans. Jonathan Mayne. London: Phaidon, 1995, 1-42.

Beckson, Karl. London in the 1890s: A Cultural History. London: W.W. Norton, 1992.

Dryden, Lynda. The Modern Gothic and Literary Doubles. Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Le Bon, Gustave. “The Mind of Crowds.” (1895) The Fin de Siecle: A Reader in Cultural History. Ed. Ledger, Sally, and Roger Luckhurst. Oxford: OUP, 2000, 55-61.

Ledger, Sally, and Roger Luckhurst. The Fin de Siecle: A Reader in Cultural History c.1880-1900. Oxford: OUP, 2000.

Mighall, Robert. Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction. Oxford: OUP, 1999.

“More Revelations of Bethnal Green.” The Builder XXI.1082. 31 October 1863. Casebook: Jack the Ripper 2 June 2005

Murray, Isobel. “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Oscar Wilde.” Durham University Journal79.2 (1987), 311-319.

Nordau, Max. Degeneration. 1895. The Fin de Siecle: A Reader in Cultural History. Ed. Ledger, Sally, and Roger Luckhurst. Oxford: OUP, 2000, 13-17.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Man of the Crowd.” E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore. 2 June 2005

Rev. of The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. The Daily Chronicle 30 June 1890

Rev. of The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. Scots Observer 5 July 1890

Stead, W.T. “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon.” 1885. The Fin de Siecle: A Reader in Cultural History.Ed. Ledger, Sally, and Roger Luckhurst. Oxford: OUP, 2000. 32-38.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. London: Penguin, 1994.

Walkowitz, Judith R. City of Dreadful Delight. London: Virago, 1992.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde: The Major Works. Ed Isobel Murray. Oxford: OUP, 2000. 47-215.

“What we Think.” Editorial. Star. 14 September 1888. Casebook: Jack the Ripper 2 June 2005