A Hostile Environment

Jonathan Strauss

in Human Remains

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233793
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241262 | DOI:

Series: Forms of Living

A Hostile Environment

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New, medically formulated anxieties about death were exacerbated by the belief that the conditions of modern life, especially the population densities of major cities, facilitated the mutual contamination between life and death. This chapter examines ways in which urban space, and Paris in particular, was seen to embody death, describing some of the medical procedures that were used to combat that ambient toxicity, looking in particular at the metaphorical fluidity uniting its various manifestations. More important, however, than particular practices, their utility, or their signification for the progress of hygiene as a means to combat disease, are the theories of death underlying this notion of toxicity.

Keywords: history of hygiene; urbanism; life; death; putrefaction; miasma

Chapter.  9714 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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