restricted access Narratives of Public Health in Dickens’s Journalism: The Trouble with Sanitary Reform

Although Dickens is still known as having been a highly visible supporter of England’s well-known nineteenth-century sanitary movement, he became, in fact, deeply troubled by many of this movement’s fundamental tenets, as evidenced by journal narratives on fever that he edited and wrote in the mid-nineteenth century. Rather than water and sewer engineering works and a sanitary regime policed by government agencies as envisaged by Edwin Chadwick and other sanitary reformers, Dickens’s view by 1855 was that only a massive erasure of the existing social and political systems and their replacement by an utterly new infrastructure would suffice.