Visions of Filth

BookVisions of Filth

Visions of Filth

Deviancy and Social Control in the Novels of Galdós


September 1st, 2003

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This book explores how notions of deviancy and social control are dramatized in the novels of the late nineteenth-century Spanish realist author Benito Pérez Galdós. Galdós’s treatment of prostitutes, alcoholics, beggars and vagrants is studied within the context of the socio-cultural and medical debates circulating during the period. Drawing on Foucault’s very specific conceptualisation of the idea of control through discourses, the book analyses how Galdós’s novels interacted with contemporary debates on poverty and deviancy – notably, discourses on hygiene, domesticity and philanthropy. It is proposed that Galdós’s view of marginal social groups was much more open-minded, shrewd and liberal than the often inflexible pronouncements made by contemporary professional voices.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Preface and Acknowledgements9
1: The Miasmas of Poverty: The Lower Classes in ‘Una visita al Cuarto Estado’21
2: The Control of Prostitution39
Regulating Deviant Femininity: The Role of Philanthropy40
Filth, Drains and Foul Odours in Fortunata y Jacinta and Nazarín: The Discourse on Public Hygiene46
The Panoptic Strategy in the Convent of Las Micaelas70
Fighting Filth beyond the Walls of Las Micaelas90
3: The Drink Problem99
Drink and Social Stability: Discourses of Power in Fortunata y Jacinta99
Drink and Degeneration in Angel Guerra121
4: The New Poor: Changing Attitudes to Poverty, Mendicity and Vagrancy144
The Deserving and Undeserving Poor in Angel Guerra144
Nazarín’s Challenge: Begging and Indiscriminate Charity160
Halma: The Undeserving Poor Reconsidered181
Misericordia: Old and New Attitudes to Mendicity188