DUSTY BOB
A Cultural History of Dustmen, 1780–1870

BRIAN MAIDMENT
240pp 71 ILLUS 2007 LIST PRICE: £55.00 H428

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Description
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 a detailed and original piece of research that will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of Victorian culture, it has been written with a broader readership in mind.