Why did dustmen exercise an extended hold over the imagination of many Regency and Victorian artists and writers, including George Cruikshank, Henry Mayhew, Charles Dickens as well as numerous little known dramatists, caricaturists, print makers, journalists and novelists? This book, the first study of the cultural representation of the dust trade, provides many varied answers to this question by showing the ways in which London dustmen were associated with ideas of contamination, dirt, noise, violence, wealth, consumerism and threat. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, including plays, novels, reportage and, especially, visual culture, Dusty Bob describes the ways in which dustmen were perceived and mythologised in the first seventy years of the nineteenth century.
Although Dusty Bob centrally comprises a detailed and original piece of research of interest to scholars and advanced students of Victorian culture, it has been written with a broader readership in mind. -- .
Brian Maidment is Professor of English at the University of Salford -- .
1. Dustmen real and imagined 2. Picturesque and educative dustmen - the urban scene and its dirty denizens 1790-1821 3. Theatrical dustmen 1820-1860 - not so Dusty Bob 4. Visual culture and the represented dustman 1820 - 1850. The public dustman 5. Visual culture and the represented dustman 1820 - 1850. Domestic dustmen and cultural challenge 6. Dust and the early Victorian imagination 7. Dust commodified and categorised - mayhew, Dickens and the investigative impulse 1840-1900 Conclusion -- .