BILS Professor Publishes on “Hunger and Famine”

Gail Turley Houston, Professor of British & Irish Literature, was asked by Routledge to edit four volumes of primary documents on the topic of hunger and famine in the long nineteenth century. These volumes came out as a set in May 2022. Descriptions of each volume are found below:

Vol. 1 Capturing Dorothy Hartley’s point that there was “a dislocation of the food supply” during the Industrial Revolution, which occurred through the enclosure movement, the poor laws, the game and corn laws (qtd. in Consuming Fictions 8), this section would begin with the date of Thomas Malthus’s “Principle of Population” (1798) to capture voices invoked during the lead up to the Reform Bill of 1832.

Vol. 2 The Hungry Forties and the Great Famine, with their horrifying monikers, deserve a section just for the many voices engaged in political, humanitarian, and social venues in juxtaposition to the voices of the starving. This volume shows how rhetoric itself experiences a crisis of representation in the face of such dramatic, tragic events: how does a culture deal with its own chosen guilty and irrational psychological motives for casting a blind eye to famine within its own borders?

Vol. 3  This volume examines the sub-topics on the use of the metaphor of hunger to describe the condition of women as well as to a sub-topic on invisible poverty and hunger after Chartism failed. As Disraeli noted, there were still two Englands “fed by a different food.”

Vol. 4 This volume examines the rhetorics used around race and famine in the colonies vis-à-vis the persistence of hunger and poverty in the island nation/empire. As William Booth reminded the British in his aptly titled In Darkest England (1890), one need not look further than London’s underbelly to find intractable hunger.

The volumes are available for purchase through Routledge.