Christopher Ondaatje

The Time of the Bodysnatchers

The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in 1830s London


Jonathan Cape 347pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

DURING THE EARLY 1830s there were some extraordinarily gruesome sides to life in London – a city whose population had, since the turn of the century, grown by one-third to over one and a half million people, making it one of the largest and most &verse anywhere. William IV had succeeded his brother George IV to the throne in 1830 and everywhere in a dissatisfied England that was sick of political oppression and economic decline there was a call for change. In this unsettled age one of the more repugnant practices, which was becoming increasingly commonplace, was that of bodysnatching or ‘resurrection’. It was a profitable trade and ‘one of the most covert underworld activities of the day’, involving the sale of human bodies to London’s hospitals, medical colleges, and other private anatomy schools.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Hart sets out to unsettle, startle and disturb. In this strange, disconcerting, radical version of a strange, disc… ,
    • Here is @MannJessica's June crime fiction round-up, discussing books by Georges Simenon, Jack Grimwood,… ,
    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,
    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,