chapter  7
30 Pages

Aesthetics of Sanitation and Social Practice in Dickens’s Novels

Prostitution and Moral Politics of Contagions
ByChung-jen Chen

In Chapter 7, I read Dickens’s description of prostitutes in Oliver Twist in the context of his involvement with the rescue and rehabilitation of prostitution at Urania Cottage and contemporaneous medical discourses that posited an economy of morality. Dickens employed a realist approach to the phenomenon of prostitution which integrated scientific narratives of morbidity with humanistic accounts of compassion By populating a problematized scenario of contagion with a panorama of characters, the novelist mustered the humanitarian tradition of realism to support benevolent practice.