"Humanity invested with a new form": the Post Office and the Hospital in Household Words c.1850

Potter, Jonathan (2021) "Humanity invested with a new form": the Post Office and the Hospital in Household Words c.1850. Romance, Revolution, Reform, 1 (3). ISSN 2517-7850

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This essay explores some of the techniques employed to present new infrastructural formations to a general reading public through close examination of writings about the postal system and the hospital in Dickens’s popular general interest magazine, Household Words. Reading these articles against Marc Augé’s account of late twentieth-century ‘supermodernity’, I argue that the newly extended reach of such systems is presented as a way out of chaotic overabundances of detail, especially in busy urban environments, as well as a means to acquire a greater mastery over the world. Yet at the same time, these articles also seek to reform the role of the individual in relation to these systems, subjugating individual agency to the primacy of systemic control. This essay aims to deepen our understanding of the reception and portrayal of infrastructural industrialisation in Household Words specifically, and the periodical press more broadly, in the years immediately following the Great Exhibition.

Item Type: Article
5 January 2021Accepted
14 January 2021Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: Household Words; Victorian Periodicals; Division of Labour; Industrialisation; Systemisation; Networks
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Jonathan Potter
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 09:25
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:45
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10769

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