Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-prhj4 Total loading time: 0.446 Render date: 2023-02-05T10:38:50.488Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 8 - Disorders of the Age

Nervous Climates

from Part III - Responses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2021

Andrew Mangham
Affiliation:
University of Reading
Clark Lawlor
Affiliation:
Northumbria University, Newcastle
Get access

Summary

In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, both medical and literary writers sought to come to terms with the perceived problems of modernity, exploring the consequences for both body and mind of the emerging forms of a pressured, deracinated society. With her ‘fits of nervous dread’ and descent into mental turmoil, George Eliot’s heroine Gwendolen Harleth, from Daniel Deronda (1876), becomes a key figure in late-Victorian representations of the over-stimulated, nervous, and rootless creature of the age. George Gissing, in The Whirlpool (1896), similarly explores the life of a nervous young woman, Alma Fotheringham, caught up in the trammels of late-century city life. This essay focuses on Eliot’s and Gissing’s engagement with medical discourses of the era in their pessimistic case studies of the ways in which pathological forms of economic and social life are imprinted on the mind and body, from the gambling salon and debased culture of the health spa in Eliot’s novel to Gissing’s explicit deployment of fin-de-siècle discourses of degeneration. It also overturns commonly held assumptions that we need to wait until Modernism for a thorough diagnosis of the diseases of modernity.

Type
Chapter
Information
Literature and Medicine
The Nineteenth Century
, pp. 157 - 173
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×