Now Playing Tracks


A Victorian Obsession With Death Fetishistic Rituals Helped Survivors Cope With Loss of Loved Ones

The Victorians are known for their prudish and repressed behavior. But few are aware of their almost fanatical obsession with death. And no one was more fixated than the era’s namesake, Queen Victoria, ruler of England from 1837 to 1901. She elaborately mourned the death of her husband, Prince Albert, for 40 years — dressing in black every day and keeping their home exactly as it was the day he died, said Carol Christ, executive vice chancellor and provost, and expert on Victorian death. […] While modern sensibilities may deem this behavior odd and peculiar, it was considered de rigueur in the 19th century. [..] Because of high mortality rates in Victorian England, death and mourning became a way of life for survivors. Death was a common domestic fact of life for Victorians, so they developed elaborate rituals to deal with it. The deathbed became a focal point for families who were in the process of losing a loved one. Typically, one or more grieving relatives would surround the bed waiting to hear the last words, signifying the transition from this world to the next. […] "The Victorians valued last words," said Christ. "In fact, the use of narcotics was discouraged, to keep the dying as lucid as possible in the hopes of hearing a climatic testimony to the meaning of life." These scenes were highly dramatized in much of the literature and artwork of the time. For example, Dickens devoted numerous chapters from his novels to prolonged deathbed watches. Photographs, death masks and portraits of the recently deceased were also produced, as well as jewelry that utilized a locket of the dead person’s hair. From our modern point of view, it is easy to make fun of these rituals, but Victorian culture recognized death as an integral part of life and they maintained an honest understanding of loss and grief. Modern society has a tendency to deal with death in more medical terms. […] "Mourning," said Christ, "created a powerful sense of being bound to the loyalty of the past."  for more here // photos edit by me // personal blog info here 

We make Tumblr themes