Guest lecture: Prof. Dr. Sabine Schülting (FU Berlin)

07.12.2017 10:15 to 12:00

"The Attraction of Repulsion": Dirt in Victorian Literature and Culture

If we can ‘do’ things with words, as J. L. Austin famously put it, what are the effects of the ubiquitous references to dirt in nineteenth-century texts about industrialization, urbanization, and poverty? A first answer would be that novels, bluebooks, and journalistic articles not merely represent the terrible living conditions in the dirt of the urban slums. More importantly, I argue, these texts evoke strong feelings: disgust, repulsion, and shock. In my lecture, I want to focus less on the representation of disgusting filth than on the performative production and social functions of emotions in nineteenth-century discourses on urban dirt.

Venue: Englisches Seminar, Grosser Hörsaal