Can a work of fiction do real harm?
One spring morning in 1840, on a respectable Mayfair street, a household of servants awoke to discover their unobtrusive master Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that his head was almost severed.
The whole of London, from monarch to street urchin, were gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder, including Dickens and Thackeray who were drawn into the controversy. But behind it was another story and when Lord William’s murderer claimed to having been inspired by the season’s most sensational novel, it seemed that a great deal more was on trial than anyone could have guessed.
Join award-winning biographer Claire Harman as she presents previously unpublished sources, to discover more about this this scandalous chapter in London’s literary history.