chapter  1
35 Pages

Theorizing Contagion

The Uses of Contagion in Victorian England
ByChung-jen Chen

In the first chapter, I introduce the theoretical and historical underpinnings of the study of the Victorian concept of contagion. I illustrate the importance of narrative to the understanding of contagion and the role contagion has played historically in the making of narratives. By contextualizing the evolution of contagion within the history of medicine, and by retracing the formation of the interdisciplinary study of medicine and literature over the past few decades, I seek to demonstrate the urgent need for the re-examination of contagion in the social, cultural, and literary context of the Victorian era.