Necropolis: London and Its Dead

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 15, 2008 - History - 320 pages
5 Reviews
From Roman burial rites to the horrors of the plague, from the founding of the great Victorian cemeteries to the development of cremation and the current approach of metropolitan society towards death and bereavement -- including more recent trends to displays of collective grief and the cult of mourning, such as that surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales -- NECROPOLIS: LONDON AND ITS DEAD offers a vivid historical narrative of this great city's attitude to going the way of all flesh.

As layer upon layer of London soil reveals burials from pre-historic and medieval times, the city is revealed as one giant grave, filled with the remains of previous eras -- pagan, Roman, medieval, Victorian. This fascinating blend of archaeology, architecture and anecdote includes such phenomena as the rise of the undertaking trade and the pageantry of state funerals; public executions and bodysnatching.

Ghoulishly entertaining and full of fascinating nuggets of information, Necropolis leaves no headstone unturned in its exploration of our changing attitudes to the deceased among us. Both anecdotal history and cultural commentary, Necropolis will take its place alongside classics of the city such as Peter Ackroyd's LONDON.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MiaCulpa - LibraryThing

Arnold's "City of Sin", covering all the naughty things Londoners have gotten up to over the years, remains one of my favourite books. I thus hunted down a copy of "Necropolis" but sadly and belatedly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tloeffler - LibraryThing

Fascinating study of how London has dealt with its dead over the years, beginning with the Celts and the Romans. Arnold discusses the difficulties encountered with burials during the multiple plagues ... Read full review

Contents

Map Acknowledgements
Introduction
Celtic Golgotha and the Roman Cemeteries
London and the Black Death
The Theatre of Death
Diary of a Plague Year
A Vision of Elysian Fields
The Dead are Killing the Living
Death Moves to the Suburbs
The Victorian Funeral
The Victorian Cult of Mourning
The Development of Cremation
World War and the Decline of Mourning
Notes
Bibliography
Index

The Development of Londons Cemeteries

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About the author (2008)

Catharine Arnold read English at Cambridge and holds a further degree in psychology. A journalist, academic and popular historian, her previous books include the novel Lost Time, winner of a Betty Trask award, and the acclaimed Necropolis: London and Its Dead, Bedlam and City ofSin, the first three volumes of her 'London' series. She lives in Nottingham.

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