HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet…
Loading...

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

by Robert Mack, Thomas Peckett Prest (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4631322,413 (3.8)18
  1. 01
    Off Season by Jack Ketchum (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: I think Off Season is a despicable book, but it's a time/place close match for the older String of Pearls. String of Pearls is also the better book because it rises above grotesque melodrama on occasion.
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I have always been fascinated by the story of Sweeney Todd. If you are expecting this to be the written version of the musical with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter then you will be sorely disappointed. This is a novelization of the original story of Sweeney Todd that was published in a "Penny Dreadful" in 1846-1847 as a serial. The written style is old fashioned (by current day standards) but that is to be expected. I don't think the story would have the same flair without it, and I adapted very quickly to the style and rhythm of the writing. I really found this to be an enjoyable and thrilling read. There is a bit of debate as to who exactly wrote it but whoever they were (there are apparently two possible authors who may have collaborated on it) they had great imaginations. I really would recommend people interested in the story of Sweeney Todd to give this book a try. It fleshes out and gives new life and insight into one of the most diabolical literary villains ever to have been invented. ( )
  Veronica.Sparrow | Nov 15, 2015 |
I have always been fascinated by the story of Sweeney Todd. If you are expecting this to be the written version of the musical with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter then you will be sorely disappointed. This is a novelization of the original story of Sweeney Todd that was published in a "Penny Dreadful" in 1846-1847 as a serial. The written style is old fashioned (by current day standards) but that is to be expected. I don't think the story would have the same flair without it, and I adapted very quickly to the style and rhythm of the writing. I really found this to be an enjoyable and thrilling read. There is a bit of debate as to who exactly wrote it but whoever they were (there are apparently two possible authors who may have collaborated on it) they had great imaginations. I really would recommend people interested in the story of Sweeney Todd to give this book a try. It fleshes out and gives new life and insight into one of the most diabolical literary villains ever to have been invented. ( )
  Veronica.Sparrow | Nov 15, 2015 |
Gruesome but rip-roaring entertainment, with a terrifying villain in Sweeney Todd. Also interesting to see how much some London locations have changed. ( )
  Moomin_Mama | Jun 15, 2015 |
I must admit that I had seen all of the movie trailers (but not the movie) before I read this one. So, with Johnny Depp's face, voice and accent doing a one-man-play in my head, I read Sweeney Todd...and loved it. Quite a lot like Dickens in the way the characters are so masterfully developed, and in the way that there are so many stories within the story itself. Additionally, the author makes use of social injustices of the time in telling his story. While the subject matter is quite dark, the telling of the story is not. The author quite adeptly draws the picture but leaves plenty of room for the reader to fill in details ... or not :-) Excellent book, I will be reading this one over and over again. ( )
  Momtosamandliv | Oct 29, 2012 |
The string of pearls or Sweeney Todd is a very entertaining, gruesome Victorian horror story.

The story is set in 1785, and the opening chapter quickly introduces the main characters and the leads of the story that will be developed over the about 400-page length novel: Lieutenant Thornhill is on shore-leave carrying a valuable string of pearls, which he is to deliver to Johanna Oakley, the lover of Mark Ingestrie who is supposedly reported as lost at sea. Thornhill never reaches Johanna and the trail leads to his mysterious disappearance from Sweeney Todd's barber's shop. The opening chapter strongly points out Todd as an evil personage, characterised by a disagreeable, mirthful, hyena-like laugh. He is described as an ill-fitted, ugly and weird person having a most terrific head of hair - "like a thickset hedge, in which a quantity of small wire had got entangled"- keeping all his combs in it, and some said his scissors as well. There is a strong suggestion that something must be going on at the shop in Fleet street, as we are told rents the whole building but only uses the first floor. He is extremely secretive, and utters the most violent threats at the address of his assistant, Tobias Ragg. When Tobias replies that he "won't say anything {as} I wish, sir, I may be made into veal pies at Lovett's in Bell Yard if I as much as say a word" this is an oddly ambiguous statement, which seems to refer to urban legend or suggests that Tobias already knows exactly what is going on.

Despite the fact that the reader realizes so early what the gruesome secret is, the reader is not aware of the details, the characters in the novel do not, and the story leads up to this horrific discovery, revealing one disgusting detail after another, and as the truth comes out (to the novel's characters) the revelation is still a gruesome climax to the reader.

Each strand of the story is cleverly and extensively developed to its fullest potential. The personal and business relation between Sweeney and Mrs Lovett, which is dominated by Todd's incredibly evil genius. The ingenuity of Todd's scheme and the connection between the shop in Fleet Street, Saint Duncan's Church and Mrs Lovett's pie shop in Bell-Yard. The hazards of selling the string of pearls. The involvement of Johanna, who dresses up as a boy to gain access to Todd's shop and the danger to which she exposes herself snooping around at the barber shop trying to discover Todd's secrets.

Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls also publshed under the title Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is an extremely entertaining story that deploys various story telling devices of the adventurous Victorian novel. There are only one or two chapters of digression from the story, causing attention to slack a bit, but most of the time the story is adventurous and engaging. The characters bear various traits of characters from Victorian literature, such as the chivalrous Colonel Jeffrey, but the characters are nonetheless real enough, as even Colonel Jeffrey admits to acting out of more than just chivalry, as he develops feelings for Johanna, which, however, he controls.

Tobias Ragg is a somewhat Dickensian character, reminiscent of Oliver Twist, and his experiences at the hands of Watson and Mr Fogg, the keepers at the madhouse belong to the best parts of the book.

Much of the fun in reading [Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls] is in the eating of Mrs Lovett's pies. The reader knows what is going on, almost right from Chapter 1, so each time a meat pie is eaten you get goose pimples and shivers along your spine.

"Their fame had spread even to great distances, and many persons carried them to the suburbs of the city as quite a treat to friends and relations there residing. And well did they deserve their reputation, those delicious pies; there was about them a flavour never surpassed, and rarely equalled; the paste was of the most delicate construction, and impregnated with the aroma of a delicious gravy that defies description. Then the small portions of meat which they contained were so tender, and the fat and the lean so artistically mixed up, that to eat one of Lovett's pies was such a provocative to eat another, that many persons who came to lunch stayed to dine." (p.36)

While many people have heard of Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls , very few people seem to have read it, and the book is owned by less than 150 people on LibraryThing. Possibly this is caused by the fact that for the longest time the book was published anonymously, and still authorship of Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls is disputed.

The 2011 Penguin edition ascribes Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls to Thomas Peckett Prest a Victorian hack writer of whom little is known (not even date of birth and death are certain), who parodied Charles Dickens publishing novels with titles such as he Life and Adventures of Oliver Twiss, the Workhouse Boy, David Copperful and Nickelas Nicklebery beside another 14-odd novels. However, there is a considerable number of scholars who suggest that the real author of Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls was James Malcolm Rymer, another Victorian writer of "penny dreadfuls". Scholarship supports that Thomas Peckett Prest and James Malcolm Rymer jointly wrote Sweeney Todd or The string of pearls, authoring alternating chapters, originally published serialized over eight weeks. Such mixed or unclear authorship may be the reason why the novel is little read. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Aug 3, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mack, RobertEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prest, Thomas PeckettAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, DickIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mack, Robert L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rymer, James MalcolmAuthorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Before Fleet Street has reached its present importance, and when George the Third was young, and the two figures who used to strike the chimes at old St Dunstan's church were all in their glory - being a great impediment to errand-boys on their progress, and a matter of gaping curiosity to country people - there stood close to the sacred edifice a small barber's shop, which was kept by a man of the name Sweeney Todd.
Before Fleet-street had reached its present importance, and when George the Third was young, and the two figures who used to strike the chimes at old St Dunstan's church were all in their glory--being a great impediment to errand-boys on their progress, and a matter of gaping curiosity to country people--there stood close to the sacred edifice a small barber's shop, which was kept by a man of the name of Sweeney Todd.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is an edition of the original stories of Sweeney Todd (originally published in the 19th century as The String of Pearls). It is NOT the same work as the adaptations by various playwrights. Do NOT combine with those adaptations, or with the film versions.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A distraught Johanna Oakley wanders the streets of London seeking news of her missing fiance, Mark Ingestrie. She is befriended by Colonel Jeffrey, who is searching for his lost friend Thornhill, last seen in Sweeney Todd's Fleet Street barber-shop. Todd's apprentice, Tobias Ragg, is struggling to break free from his terrifying and sadistic master, while the barber himself is frantically trying to sell a string of pearls. Meanwhile, just around the corner in Bell Yard, the enigmatic Jarvis Williams has landed himself a fine job - making the most delicious pies in London, to Mrs Lovett's secret recipe . . .
from the blurb of the Wordsworth Classics edition
blurb: “Ladies and Gentleman….I have to state that Mrs. Lovett’s pies are made of human flesh!” This shocking announcement provides the stunning denouement to a narrative first published over a period of four months in the winter of 1846-7. The revelation marked only the beginning, however, of the notorious career of Sweeney Todd, soon known to legend as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Haiku summary
One man feeds many.
A bad place to be alone.
Warm slicks in the dark.
(SomeGuyInVirginia)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199543445, Paperback)

A sensational story of murder and pie-making, Sweeney Todd is a classic of British horror writing, widely adapted in print and on stage, most famously by Stephen Sondheim, whose unlikely "musical thriller" won eight Tony awards. This edition offers the original story with all its atmospheric Victorian trimmings. The story of Todd's murderous partnership with pie-maker Margery Lovett--at once inconceivably unpalatable and undeniably compelling--has subsequently set the table for a seemingly endless series of successful dramatic adaptations, popular songs and ballads, novellas, radio plays, graphic novels, ballets, films, and musicals. Both gleeful and ghoulish, the original tale of Sweeney Todd, first published under the title The String of Pearls, combines the story of Todd's grisly method of robbing and dispatching his victims--by way of Mrs. Lovett's meat pies--with a romantic sub-plot involving deception, disguise, and detective work, set against the backdrop of London's dark and unsavory streets. Editor Robert Mack 'fleshes' out the story with a fascinating introduction touching on the origins of the tale, the growth of the legend, and a history of its many retellings. Mack also includes explanatory notes that point out interesting aspects, plus a full chronology of the many versions of Sweeney Todd.
Since Sweeney Todd first entered the public imagination in the mid-nineteenth-century, his exploits have chilled and fascinated audiences around the world. This new edition allows modern readers to savor the ghastly original in all its gruesome glory.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Both gleeful and ghoulish, the original tale of Sweeney Todd, first published under the title The String of Pearls, combines the story of Todd's grisly method of robbing and dispatching his victims--by way of Mrs. Lovett's meat pies--with a romantic sub-plot involving deception, disguise, and detective work, set against the backdrop of London's dark and unsavory streets. Features an introduction and explanatory notes.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
19 avail.
44 wanted
7 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.8)
0.5
1
1.5
2 4
2.5 1
3 14
3.5 12
4 31
4.5 4
5 12

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,741,427 books! | Top bar: Always visible