Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy

Author(s): Paul Thomas Murphy

History | Featured Titles

"A fresh, lively " perspective on Victorian England, as seen through the eight assassination attempts on Queen Victoria (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

During Queen Victoria's sixty-four years on the British throne, no fewer than eight attempts were made on her life. Seven teenage boys and one man attempted to kill her. Far from letting it inhibit her reign over the empire, Victoria used the notoriety of the attacks to her advantage. Regardless of the traitorous motives--delusions of grandeur, revenge, paranoia, petty grievances, or a preference of prison to the streets--they were a golden opportunity for the queen to revitalize the British crown, strengthen the monarchy, push through favored acts of legislation, and prove her pluck in the face of newfound public support. "It is worth being shot at," she said, "to see how much one is loved."
Recounting what Elizabeth Barrett marveled at as "this strange mania of queen-shooting," and the punishments, unprecedented trials, and fate of these malcontents who were more pitiable than dangerous, Paul Thomas Murphy explores the realities of life in nineteenth-century England--for both the privileged and the impoverished. From these cloak-and-dagger plots of "regicide" to Victoria's steadfast courage, Shooting Victoria is thrilling, insightful, and, at times, completely mad historical narrative.
Whether through film (Jean-Marc Vallée's The Young Victoria), biography (Julia Baird's Victoria: The Queen), television (Daisy Goodwin's Victoria), or revisionist fantasy (Paul Di Filippo's The Steampunk Trilogy) there is a strong interest in Victorian England. Now Paul Thomas Murphy approaches this period from an eccentric, entirely new, and unexplored angle, combining legal, social, and political history into a book that is both "enlightening [and] great fun" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).


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'Beautifully researched and lucidly written ... an entertaining study' Sunday Times. '[A] fascinating book ... it is a testament to his talent that these 500 pages left me wanting more' Daily Express. 'A rollicking read' The Spectator. 'Full of curiosity and zest' Mail on Sunday. 'Great fun ... well-written ... detailed ... sheds entirely new light on Queen Victoria' Kirkus (starred review). 'Part social panorama, part crime thriller, part psychological drama ... long overlooked story ... Superb' Robert Morrison. 'A fresh, lively narrative ... concise yet entertainingly informative' Publishers' Weekly (starred review).

Paul Thomas Murphy teaches interdisciplinary writing on Victorian topics at the University of Colorado. He is working on several projects relating to the Victorian period.

General Fields

  • : 9781781851272
  • : Head of Zeus
  • : Head of Zeus
  • : January 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paul Thomas Murphy
  • : Hardback
  • : 688