Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Out o' Sight, Out o' mind: The Progression of Dirt in Victorian Literature and Culture
by James, Roxie Jennifer, Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 123; 3622942
Abstract (Summary)

In the nineteenth century, particularly in England, the population grew exponentially; the geography changed radically; and waste, both human and industrial, exceeded previous proportions. One way for writers and other cultural voices to conceptualize this change is to view the changing landscape through the lens of dirt. Dirt is defined as matter out of place and removing dirt is an attempt to restore order. However, this dissertation argues that as the nineteenth century progressed it became harder and harder to remove physical and metaphorical dirt. So while I agree with arguments of dirt as a marker of boundaries, I extend those arguments by claiming that as the parameters of boundaries such as race, gender, and class changed, so did the definitional parameters of dirt. The presence of dirt must be resolved, and that resolution changes throughout the nineteenth century. Yes, dirt "invades" the nation through industry, but it does not go away and it has such great socio-economical effects. Thus, in this dissertation, I focus on the construction of the nineteenth-century ideology of dirt and the subsequent disruption of said ideology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: DeVine, Christine
Commitee: Geer, Jennifer, Goodwin, Jonathan
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Keywords: Dirt, Victorian literature
Publication Number: 3622942
ISBN: 978-1-303-95108-4
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