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Victorian Contagion


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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Theorizing Contagion: The Uses of Contagion in Victorian England

  3. Verbalizing Contagion: Edwin Chadwick's Narratives and the Rise of Public Health Governance

  4. "All Smell is Disease": Medical Realism in Charles Dickens's Narratives of Sanitation

  5. Serial Outbreaks: Florence Nightingale and the Narrative Practice of Nursing

  6. From Imagined Community to Imagined Immunity: Medical Realism in Elizabeth Gaskell's Novels

  7. Aesthetics of Sanitation and Social Practice in Dickens's Novels: Prostitution and Moral Politics of Contagions

  8. "A Clean City is a Healthy City": Normativity and Contagions in Victorian Slum Narratives

  9. Victorian Materials and Rubbish Theory: Charles Dickens and the Recycling of Society in Our Mutual Friend

  10. Conclusion

About the Author

Chung-jen Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University, Taiwan. He holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from National Taiwan Normal University (2009). He was a visiting scholar in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) at Harvard University (2017-18). He was the recipient of the Award for Innovative Research for Young Scholars from the Foundation for the Advancement of Outstanding Scholarship (2015) and the Golden Tripod Award of Taiwan (2014) for his book in Mandarin, Empire, Medicine and 19th-Century English Literature. His research interests include nineteenth-century British novels, contemporary British fiction, and interdisciplinary studies in medicine and literature.


'Indeed, in what for me is the strongest part of Victorian Contagion, Chen deploys the methods of literary criticism to uncover the discursive maneuvers by which a secular work like Chadwick's 1842 Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Great Britain attains powerful moral effects.'Sambudha Sen, Shiv Nadar University

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