1st Edition

Narratives of Injury Nineteenth-Century Coalfields Fiction

By Rosalyn Buckland Copyright 2024
    240 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Narratives of Injury redescribes the history of injury from the perspective of those most at risk, rather than medical professionals and other outsiders. Refocusing on the first-hand perspectives found in literary texts and journalistic accounts, it uncovers a self-conscious tradition of mining stories running through nineteenth-century writing. The book examines both non-canonical authors and famous novelists, including Charles Dickens, Joseph Skipsey, G. A Henty, E. H. Burnett, George Eliot, Edward Tirebuck, H.G. Wells and D. H. Lawrence. Their narratives revise our understanding both of injury and of the radical potential of fiction. Sudden physical injuries have often been configured as fundamentally unknowable by the victims themselves, particularly in studies of nineteenth-century literature and culture. Likewise, narratives of psychological trauma have been largely understood, in Cathy Caruth's words, as the 'attempt to master what was never fully grasped in the first place.' Such readings privilege the reader as a necessary interpreter of physical or psychological injury. By contrast, Narratives of Injury reasserts the significance of patients' own experiences, choices and actions.


    Chapter One

    Pre-empting Accident: Household Words and Dickens’ Hard Times

    Chapter Two

    Real-time Disaster: Joseph Skipsey and the Hartley Colliery Disaster

    Chapter Three

    The Coalfields Novel and Eliot’s Felix Holt

    Chapter Four

    Long-Term Trauma: Zola’s Germinal and Tirebuck’s Miss Grace of All Souls’

    Chapter Five

    Universal Healthcare: Wells’ The Time Machine, In the Days of the Comet and Meanwhile

    Chapter Six

    Implications for the Canon: D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers


    Rosalyn Buckland completed her AHRC-funded PhD in English Literature (Medical Humanities) at King’s College London, having previously studied at Cambridge and Edinburgh. She has since trained as a doctor, and has first-hand experience providing emergency medical treatment both in-hospital and alongside the London Ambulance Service. She currently practices as a psychiatrist at CNWL NHS Trust.