The Wonderful and Surprising History of Sweeney Todd: The Life and Times of an Urban Legend / Edition 1

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The tales surrounding Sweeney Todd's notorious barber shop in London's Fleet Street have entertained generations of audiences and have made Todd himself one of the most famous - or perhaps notorious - characters in the city's history. The Wonderful and Surprising History of Sweeney Todd traces the fortunes of Todd's narrative from its earliest 'proper' appearance as a Victorian 'penny blood' in 1846-47, and then as a popular melodrama on the stage, through to its twentieth-century manifestation in film, ballet, musicals, and opera up to current and future productions, including the forthcoming Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film version of Stephen Sondheim's 1979 Broadway masterpiece. 

Each successive generation has found a compelling fascination in Sweeney Todd's themes of avarice, ambition, desire, appetite, retribution, justice, and cannibalism.  Following in the footsteps of the myth, this fascinating book takes the reader on a jourbaney from the roots of the story in the alleyways and pie-shops of Victorian London to its modern incarnations on stage, screen and in popular culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826497918
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 3/17/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert L. Mack is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Exeter. His edition of the original Sweeney Todd novel was published by Oxford University Press in November 2007. His other books include Thomas Gray: A Life (Yale UP, 2000) and The Genius of Parody (Palgrave, 2007).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Preface
Part I: Contexts, Themes and Background
1. Du Côté de Chez Todd: Man Eating, Meat Pies and the Macabre
2. Aren't There Butchers Enough?: The Roots of Myth and Meaning in Sweeney Todd
3. Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner: True Lies and the Life of an Urban Legend
Part II: Text and Sources
4. Fiends in Human Shape: The String of Pearls and the Earliest Histories of Fleet Street's 'Cannibalistic Pastries'
5. I Shall Have to Polish Him Off: Proto-Myths and Precedents
Part III: Visions and Revisions
6. The Way of All Flesh: Sweeney Todd, Melodrama, and the Theatre
7. A Proper Artist with a Knife: Sweeney on Celluloid
8. Swing Your Razor Wide, Sweeney: Further Adventures of a Legend Appendix: Sweeney Todd: A Genealogy, History, and Chronology Notes Select Bibliography Index
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