Nineteenth-Century Sanitation Reform Criticism: Overviews - Essay

F. S. Schwarzbach (essay date May 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Schwarzbach, F. S. “‘Terra Incognita’—An Image of the City in English Literature, 1820-1855.” Prose Studies 5, no. 1 (May 1982): 62-84.

[In the following essay, Schwarzbach offers an overview of the depiction of London's poor in both nonfiction exposés and novelistic accounts.]

The first half of the nineteenth century saw the transformation of England from an agrarian to an industrial, and from a rural to an urban society. During these fifty years, London's numbers grew from just over a million to nearly three million; in the 1820s alone, half a dozen large English cities increased their population by fifty per cent. This rapid and unprecedented...

(The entire section is 11623 words.)

Nancy Aycock Metz (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Metz, Nancy Aycock. “Discovering a World of Suffering: Fiction and the Rhetoric of Sanitary Reform—1840-1860.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts 15, no. 1 (1991): 65-81.

[In the following essay, Metz discusses the influence of public health reports on Victorian fiction.]

In the 1840's and 1850's the reports of public health physicians and the subsequent accounts of these reports in the press allowed the middle classes to discover the poor. According to H. J. Dyos, “The facts about the slums that had become merely unpalatable in the twentieth century were often shockingly fresh or simply incredible to those that gathered or digested them in the nineteenth...

(The entire section is 6257 words.)