Filth: Dirt, Disgust, And Modern Life

Front Cover
William A. Cohen, Ryan Johnson
U of Minnesota Press - 317 pages
From floating barges of urban refuse to dung-encrusted works of art, from toxic landfills to dirty movies, filth has become a major presence and a point of volatile contention in modern life. This book explores the question of what filth has to do with culture: what critical role the lost, the rejected, the abject, and the dirty play in social management and identity formation. It suggests the ongoing power of culturally mandated categories of exclusion and repression. Focusing on filth in literary and cultural materials from London, Paris, and their colonial outposts in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the essays in "Filth, all but one previously unpublished, range over topics as diverse as the building of sewers in nineteenth-century European metropolises, the link between interior design and bourgeois sanitary phobias, the fictional representation of laboring women and foreigners as polluting, and relations among disease, disorder, and sexual-racial disharmony. "Filth provides the first sustained consideration, both theoretical and historical, of a subject whose power to horrify, fascinate, and repel is as old as civilization itself.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Part II Sanitation and the City
49
Part III Polluting the Bourgeois
131
Part IV Dirty Modernism
223
Contributors
303
Index
307
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information