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dc.contributor.authorHenchman, Anna A.en_US
dc.date.accessioned2018-05-31T14:51:21Z
dc.date.available2018-05-31T14:51:21Z
dc.date.issued2017-12-01
dc.identifier.citationHenchman, A., (2017). Tallow Candles and Meaty Air in Bleak House . 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century. Vol. 25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ntn.794
dc.identifier.issn1755-1560
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2144/29230
dc.description.abstractIn Charles Dickens’s Bleak House there is a strange (and disgusting) pattern of characters feeling that they can ‘taste’ the air, and that that air tastes either meaty or greasy. Esther notices that snuffing ‘two great office candles in tin candlesticks’ at Mrs Jellyby’s ‘made the room taste strongly of hot tallow’, the mutton or beef fat out of which inexpensive candles were made. In Bleak House, candles retain their sheepy atmospheres and release them into the surrounding air when consumed. Mrs Jellyby’s home and Mr Vholes’s office are just two places in which Dickens suggests that the process of turning organic animal bodies into urban commodities (candles, parchment, wigs) has not quite been completed. Candles and parchment are part animal, part object, and they constantly threaten to revert back into their animal forms. The commodification of animal bodies occurs primarily in the city, where parts of formerly living bodies are manufactured into things. Filled with the smell of burning chops or a spontaneously combusted human, Dickens’s greasier atmospheres contain animal matter suspended in the air that the characters smell, taste, and touch. Once we realize that the apparent smell of chops and candles is, in fact, Krook’s body, this act of taking the air becomes a form of cannibalism that is at least as unsettling as Michael Pollan’s recent account of cows being fed cow parts in factory farms. Drawing on this insight and on Allen MacDuffie’s analyses of energy systems in Bleak House, this article focuses on instances in which Dickens defamiliarizes the human consumption of energy by having his characters unintentionally ingest animal particles. Studying Dickens’s treatment of animal fat suspended in air adds a new dimension to recent work on systems of energy expenditure and exchange in an age of industrial capitalism.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of Londonen_US
dc.relation.ispartof19 : Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
dc.rightsUnknownen_US
dc.rightsThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).en_US
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.subject2005 Literary Studiesen_US
dc.subject2103 Historical Studiesen_US
dc.subjectDickens, Charlesen_US
dc.subjectBleak Houseen_US
dc.subjectCandlesen_US
dc.titleTallow candles and meaty air in Bleak Houseen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.doi10.16995/ntn.794
pubs.elements-sourcemanual-entryen_US
pubs.notesEmbargo: Not knownen_US
pubs.organisational-groupBoston Universityen_US
pubs.organisational-groupBoston University, College of Arts & Sciencesen_US
pubs.organisational-groupBoston University, College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Englishen_US
pubs.publication-statusPublisheden_US


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