The Feejee Mermaid: Maritime Myths and Legends

May 2022

In this episode we continue looking at folklore, myths and legends relating to the sea by investigating the story of the Feejee Mermaid, an extraordinary tale of a ‘real’ mermaid that was discovered in Japan in 1822, purchased by a collector and displayed in London to the grotesque fascination of thousands of people. Dr Sam Willis speaks with Béatrice Laurent, Professor of Victorian Studies at the Université Bordeaux Montaigne in France. They discuss the reasons why people believe in mermaids in the nineteenth century and how the discovery of mermaids fitted in with religious and scientific thought at the time.