Victorian Contagion: Risk and Social Control in the Victorian Literary Imagination examines the literary and cultural production of contagion in the Victorian era and the way that production participated in a moral economy of surveillance and control. In this book, I attempt to make sense of how the discursive practice of contagion governed the interactions and correlations between medical science, literary creation, and cultural imagination. Victorians dealt with the menace of contagion by theorizing a working motto in claiming the goodness and godliness in cleanliness which was theorized, realized, and radicalized both through practice and imagination. The Victorian discourse around cleanliness and contagion, including all its treatments and preventions, developed into a culture of medicalization, a perception of surveillance, a politics of health, an economy of morality, and a way of thinking. This book is an attempt to understands the literary and cultural elements which contributed to fear and anticipation of contagion, and to explain why and how these elements still matter to us today.
- 2020 Taylor
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