During the last-half of the nineteenth-century, an entire regulatory and administrative apparatus developed throughout Britain to regulate burial grounds and corpses, and navigate the medico-administrative challenge presented by the legality of cremation. The dominant thesis in “deathway” scholarship claims that these transformations in burial management and towards the adoption of cremation are traceable to an over-arching sanitary discourse, which revealed the “intolerability” of urban churchyard burial. I offer a counter-thesis by instead engaging with the aesthetic dimension of reformist
discourse and the cultural transformations in Victorian culture relating to death. I suggest that the pursuit of a shifting ideal of the corpse oriented the way emerging knowledges and institutions considered it as an object of regulation.