This intriguing book examines the ways contagion - or disease - inform and shape a wide variety of nineteenth century texts and contexts.
Christensen dissects the cultural assumptions concerning disease, health, impurity and so on before exploring different perspectives on key themes such as plague, nursing and the hospital environment and focusing on certain key texts including Dickens's Bleak House, Gaskell's Ruth, and Zola's Le Docteur Pascal.
Allan Conrad Christensen is Professor of English at John Cabot University in Rome. He is the author of Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Fiction of New Regions (1976) and a book on the Italian Victorian novelist Giovanni Ruffini (1996).
"Christensen's exploration... is admirably traced. His analyses are lucid and sensitive and his ability to weave the apparently disaparate conerns of a cross-cultural discourse revolving around medicine and literature into a coherent and persuasive discourse is arresting." - Renzo D'Agnillo, The Gaskell Society Journal
"...a valuable contribution to the literature of gender in the nineteenth century and offersa striking and original parallel to work on gender and nervous disease." - Martin Willis, Gothic Studies
"The introductory chapter in itself should be required reading for students of the nineteenth century." - Robert Kiely, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
"[T]his is an insightful and provocative study... Christensen's book is interesting in large measure because of his zest for the topic, which is itself contagious." - Jill L. Matus, Victorian Studies
"[I]t is a book that cannot be absent from the library of a Victorian scholar that wishes to possess a framework for the strong socio-cultural and literary connotations that the thematic of contagion poses on various levels." - Francesco Marroni, Rivista di Letterature moderne e comparate