Professor Alexandra Warwick, Head of Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster, used her academic expertise in English literature to discuss Jack the Ripper and comment on why serial killers are so popular in contemporary culture for ShortList magazine. 

Professor Warwick points to Jack the Ripper as a vivid example of how fiction presents serial killers as extremely organised and clever, opposing to those trying to fight them, as is the case with the police officer in Jack the Ripper.

“I think that’s entirely the product of fiction. Serial killers in fiction are immensely more baroque and planned and organised, with thematic patterns based on the Book of Revelation and stuff like that, than is ever the case with killers in real life.”

Alexandra Warwick does not seem to find serial killers in fiction interesting herself. However, she believes that the appeal to monstrous characters and horror can say a lot about the self of an individual.

“Being interested in why other people do things is always being interested in what we’re like ourselves. The projection on to others and the consideration of what that is, it’s absolutely about what we’re like. Are we capable of those things?”

Read the whole article on ShortList.

Press and media enquiries

Contact us on:

+44 (0)20 3506 9464 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
+44 (0)7970 483 778

[email protected]