This review is from: The Wonderful and Surprising History of Sweeney Todd: The Life and Times of an Urban Legend (Hardcover)
Robert Mack has clearly spent a lot of time on this, for which he is to be applauded.
I have to say though that I believe he goes to far in looking for significance in the events and characters in the tale of Sweeney Todd. For example, "Thornhill's name itself suggests the gratuitously imposed pain and martyrdom ('thorn') and altered eminence ('hill') of this sacrificial victim's particularly commercial and pedestrian Calvary..."
I scarcely think that the original author nor the readership of what was a serial in a popular magazine thought along these lines; to them, this was a sensational tale of gorey and horrible crime, without any deeper significance.
There is quite a lot of this sort of thing, which makes this quite a difficult book to read. Sorting the facts from Mr Mack's views isn't always easy.
Sorry to have to say this, because I really wanted to like this book. I don't, though.