Morbid Taste, Morbid Anatomy and Victorian Popular Literature
This article examines the role that references to morbid anatomy played in some popular Victorian novels, such as those of Wilkie Collins. Because the allusions to morbid anatomy were closely related to the new type of realism that Victorian popular literature proposed, they participated in the definition of popular literature as vulgar, offensive and dangerous for impressionable young women. As this paper shows, indeed, images of morbid anatomy do not simply highlight and capitalize on the Victorians’ morbid fascination with death. Above all, by embodying and recording cultural responses to medical science, they offer insights into definitions of popular literature and popular taste.