chapter  14
Ripping yards
Capturing (not catching) and constructing the myth of Jack the Ripper in nineteenth-century London
ByJohn Paul Green
Pages 12

This chapter discusses anxieties, which were both exploited and consumed, by a variety of sources, from the British press through to the literature and popular entertainments of the time. It provides three ways of reading the Ripper in terms of his popularity in the late nineteenth century. The chapter examines the role of the British press in creating, propagating and cementing the myth of the Whitechapel murders primarily as a way of selling newspapers. It also examines the ways in which the press was drawing on existing forms to report crime and to provide and satiate audience appetite for the grotesque and macabre. The chapter explores the role of other popular fictions in feeding the myth of the Ripper, or indeed responding to the crimes in their own creation. It highlights the influence the Ripper industry, created in the 1880s, and has had on contemporary popular culture.