Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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CONTENTS

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p. v

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-viii

Making Waste is based on the doctoral dissertation I wrote at Harvard under the supervision of Barbara Lewalski, Marjorie Garber, and James Engell. I thank them for their mentoring, encouragement, and friendship when I was a student and for ongoing support in later years. Several senior colleagues at Princeton have also given advice and support for which I am...

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Introduction: Making Waste

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pp. 1-17

In 1772 the Frenchman Pierre Jean Grosley’s Tour to London; or, New Observations on England and its Inhabitants praised London as Europe’s most sophisticated metropolis: well-paved, well-lighted, convenient and modern. The best passages, however, leave us with an altogether different impression of the capital, a dirty, difficult place, darkened by pollution and contaminated...

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1. The Invention of the Wasteland: Civic Narrative and Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis

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pp. 18-40

During 1665, the plague evacuated London’s streets and public buildings. Then in September 1666, as citizens were returning to the capital and resuming normal life, the Great Fire razed central London in four days.1 The city was debilitated, its streets filled with blockages and displaced persons, its buildings in ruin, its crowds dispossessed: “[T]he people who now walked about the ruines, appeared like men in some dismal desart,...

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2. Wastelands, Paradise Lost, and Popular Polemic at the Restoration

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pp. 41-66

The hybrid wasteland of Annus Mirabilis, partly drawn from the Bible, partly a reflection of reality, created a new literary terrain: a setting in which personal and social desolation became themes in modern secular writing. Dryden’s wasteland figured political and cultural disaffection, and yet, like the sacked cities of the Bible, its strange, alienated landscape commanded memorialization. Once invented, this hybrid wasteland became the landscape through...

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3. Milton’s Chaos in Pope’s London: Material Philosophy and the Book Trade

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pp. 67-90

This chapter is about an instance of literary and philosophical nostalgia. Pope, writing in the secular, commercial environment of eighteenthcentury London (the final Dunciad was published in 1743), looks back to the landscapes of Paradise Lost, the great theological epic of the previous century. He chooses as the setting of his mock epic one of the most complex locations in Milton’s poem: Chaos, the landscape through which Satan struggles in...

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4. The Man on the Dump: Swift, Ireland, and the Problem of Waste

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pp. 91-111

Nobody relished leftovers like Jonathan Swift. His writings are filled with waste matter: excrement, snot, sweat, nail clippings, garbage, dead dogs. With a meticulous attention that often looks like neurotic obsession, 1 Swift rehabilitates matter that has been discarded by the polite worlds of eighteenth-century London and Dublin, playing endlessly with the fact that filth and abundance can be made to look the same. In political terms the...

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5. Holding On to the Corpse: Fleshly Remains in A Journal of the Plague Year

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pp. 112-136

In 1665 the plague took hold of London, killing more than forty thousand people.1 It was the first of the calamities to fall on England’s capital in the 1660s—to be followed by the fire of 1666 and the invasion of the Medway by the Dutch fleet in June 1667. Nearly sixty years later, in 1722, Daniel Defoe published his quasi-historical account of the epidemic, A Journal...

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Afterword: Mr. Spectator’s Tears and Sophia Western’s Muff

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pp. 137-144

In one of the most remarkable essays that he wrote for the Spectator, Joseph Addison describes the pleasures of the Royal Exchange at the busiest moment of the trading day. “There is no Place in the Town which I so much love to frequent as the Royal Exchange,” he begins.1 The ’Change is, for Addison, a secular Eden, paradise in modern London. He watches with satisfaction and pride “so rich an Assembly of Country-men and Foreigners consulting...

NOTES

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pp. 145-168

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 169-186

INDEX

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pp. 187-196