‘Nothink and Starwation’
This chapter illustrates how Charles Dickens found the materiality of starvation a powerful method for addressing the social injustices that angered him. Less balanced than Gaskell and less conflicted than Kingsley, he pulled no punches when it came to the ‘Parrots of Society’—those subscribers to hypocritical, dogmatic interpretations of political economy whose efforts to deal with social problems became, he believed, abortive subscriptions to a malicious laissez faire. The chapter argues that we need to understand these red-hot polemics as a response to, and an appropriation of, the scientific registers of men like Thomas Southwood Smith. What Dickens found in science was a materialism that allowed his challenges to the shallow cant of reformers and politicians to morph into an attack on their perceived stupidity: Dickens was able to use the science of starving as a means of grounding a radical position within a thoughtful materialist one.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.