Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-846f6c7c4f-86qbt Total loading time: 0.308 Render date: 2022-07-07T10:20:44.761Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

FROM CESSPOOL TO SEWER: SANITARY REFORM AND THE RHETORIC OF RESISTANCE, 1848–1880

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 August 2002

Michelle Allen
Affiliation:
University of Virginia

Extract

IN 1855, THE REVEREND GIRDLESTONE zealously promoted sanitary reform in Britain, claiming that the movement was “pregnant with the most important advantages to the human race, in every point of view — social, moral, and religious” (29). Girdlestone’s claim provides a useful starting point for considering representations of reform, as this view of the redemptive powers of cleanliness has been accepted by many historians as a characteristic Victorian attitude.1 But while it is true that many Victorians believed that sweeping public health reforms could fuel the physical and moral regeneration of the urban poor, it is also true that others responded to these reforms with fear, anger, and suspicion: an active strain of resistance flourished within Victorian sanitary discourse. That scholars have privileged the Victorians’ declarations of faith in matters of cleanliness and to some degree shared in these sentiments should not surprise us. The idea of public health reform as universally advantageous accords not only with our own sense of the desirability of sanitary techniques such as flush-toilets and water-borne sewerage, which have become naturalized in the West, but also with a narrative of historical progress.2 While this essay does not dispute the fact that the sanitary idea gained wide acceptance in the period, it does seek to shift the focus away from Victorian faith to Victorian apostasy in matters of reform.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
3
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

FROM CESSPOOL TO SEWER: SANITARY REFORM AND THE RHETORIC OF RESISTANCE, 1848–1880
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

FROM CESSPOOL TO SEWER: SANITARY REFORM AND THE RHETORIC OF RESISTANCE, 1848–1880
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

FROM CESSPOOL TO SEWER: SANITARY REFORM AND THE RHETORIC OF RESISTANCE, 1848–1880
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *