Visions of Filth: Deviancy and Social Control in the Novels of Galdos

Overview

Visions of Filth explores how notions of deviancy and social control are dramatised in the novels of the late-nineteenth-century Spanish realist author Benito Perez Galdos. A link is made between deviancy and 'filth', a concept arising from the images of dirt, disease, immorality and disorder generated by social abnormality. Galdos's treatment of those groups of the population perceived as 'deviant', in particular prostitutes, alcoholics, beggars and vagrants, is studied within the context of the socio-cultural ...
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Overview

Visions of Filth explores how notions of deviancy and social control are dramatised in the novels of the late-nineteenth-century Spanish realist author Benito Perez Galdos. A link is made between deviancy and 'filth', a concept arising from the images of dirt, disease, immorality and disorder generated by social abnormality. Galdos's treatment of those groups of the population perceived as 'deviant', in particular prostitutes, alcoholics, beggars and vagrants, is studied within the context of the socio-cultural and medical debates circulating during the period. The issue of deviancy is also examined in relation to gender, by looking at the different attitudes adopted by both Galdos and by social and moral commentators of the time towards certain kinds of male and female deviancy. Drawing on Foucault's very specific conceptualisation of the idea of control through discourses, the book analyses how Galdos's novels interacted with contemporary debates on poverty and deviancy - notably, discourses on hygiene, domesticity and philanthropy. It is proposed that Galdos's view of marginal social groups was much more open-minded, shrewd and liberal than the often inflexible pronouncements made by contemporary professional voices. The establishment of a socio-historical and theoretical framework enables the reader to appreciate the significance of Galdos's critical focus and personal contribution to such discourses.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780853237181
  • Publisher: Liverpool University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2003
  • Pages: 228
  • Lexile: 1710L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 The Miasmas of Poverty: The Lower Classes in 'Una Visita al Cuarto Estado' 9
2 The Control of Prostitution 27
Regulating Deviant Femininity: The Role of Philanthropy 28
Filth, Drains and Foul Odours in Fortunata y Jacinta and Nazarin: The Discourse on Public Hygiene 34
The Panoptic Strategy in the Convent of Las Micaelas 58
Fighting Filth beyond the Walls of Las Micaelas 78
3 The Drink Problem 87
Drink and Social Stability: Discourses of Power in Fortunata y Jacinta 87
Drink and Degeneration in Angel Guerra 109
4 The New Poor: Changing Attitudes to Poverty, Mendicity and Vagrancy 132
The Deserving and Undeserving Poor in Angel Guerra 132
Nazarin's Challenge: Begging and Indiscriminate Charity 148
Halma: The Undeserving Poor Reconsidered 169
Misericordia: Old and New Attitudes to Mendicity 176
Conclusion 195
Bibliography 199
Index 213
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