[IDST 207] Victorian Garbage: Disgust and Desire in British Literature and Culture


This course explores the significance of garbage in Victorian period literature and culture. What did it mean to be dirty—and clean—in a culture riven by changing notions of urban life and industrial labor, of gender and sexuality, of colony and metropolis, and of social class and economic value? In the words of one anthropologist, waste is “matter out of place”: it by definition challenges cultural, psychological, and conceptual boundaries. This course examines dirt both literally and metaphorically, turning to the actual detritus of London and to the fallen women and “human scum” that we encounter in literature by Charles Dickens and his peers. Along with the 19th-century novel, we will treat materials from a variety of other fields, including anthropology, psychoanalysis, the visual arts, architecture, urban planning, and public health. Although this course seeks to introduce English majors to the historical process of disciplinary formation, other majors may enroll with the consent of the instructor. Prerequisite: English 190, 195, and junior standing; or approval of instructor.

Course Title

Victorian Garbage: Disgust and Desire in British Literature and Culture

Course Code

IDST 207

Units

1

Fulfills Requirements

W,CP
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