Reading Victorian rags: Recycling, redemption, and Dickens's ragged children

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/338205
Title:
Reading Victorian rags: Recycling, redemption, and Dickens's ragged children
Authors:
Wynne, Deborah
Abstract:
In Victorian Britain rags were not only associated with the inadequate clothing of the poor, they were also viewed as a valuable commodity, widely collected for recycling into paper. This essay examines rags as simultaneously despised and precious objects, tracing the connections between Victorian accounts of poverty, the industrial recycling of rags into paper, and the redemption narratives created by Charles Dickens about rescued children. A supporter of Ragged Schools and champion of rags recycling, Dickens drew on the idea of the transformation of dirty rags into clean paper in his representations of ragged children. To him, the recycling of rags indicated the civilizing forces of modernity, and reading Dickens's representations of ragged children in this context reveals how cloth recycling became a paradigm for society's duties towards destitute children. This essay explains Dickens's juxtaposition of ragged children with references to rag-dealing in his novels; by this means he suggested that street children, like their ragged clothing, were capable of being purified and transformed into social usefulness.
Affiliation:
University of Chester
Citation:
Journal of Victorian Culture, 2014, 20(1), pp. 1-16.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Journal:
Journal of Victorian Culture
Publication Date:
24-Dec-2014
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/338205
Additional Links:
http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rjvc20/current; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13555502.2014.991747
Type:
Article
Language:
en
Description:
This is an Version of Record of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Victorian Culture on 24 December 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13555502.2014.991747 This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/ which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
ISSN:
1355-5502; 10.1080/13555502.2014.991747
EISSN:
1750-0133
Sponsors:
AHRC AH/K00803X/1
Appears in Collections:
English

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorWynne, Deborahen
dc.date.accessioned2015-01-14T11:25:13Z-
dc.date.available2015-01-14T11:25:13Z-
dc.date.issued2014-12-24-
dc.identifier.citationJournal of Victorian Culture, 2014, 20(1), pp. 1-16.en
dc.identifier.issn1355-5502-
dc.identifier.issn10.1080/13555502.2014.991747-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10034/338205-
dc.descriptionThis is an Version of Record of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Victorian Culture on 24 December 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13555502.2014.991747 This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/ which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.en
dc.description.abstractIn Victorian Britain rags were not only associated with the inadequate clothing of the poor, they were also viewed as a valuable commodity, widely collected for recycling into paper. This essay examines rags as simultaneously despised and precious objects, tracing the connections between Victorian accounts of poverty, the industrial recycling of rags into paper, and the redemption narratives created by Charles Dickens about rescued children. A supporter of Ragged Schools and champion of rags recycling, Dickens drew on the idea of the transformation of dirty rags into clean paper in his representations of ragged children. To him, the recycling of rags indicated the civilizing forces of modernity, and reading Dickens's representations of ragged children in this context reveals how cloth recycling became a paradigm for society's duties towards destitute children. This essay explains Dickens's juxtaposition of ragged children with references to rag-dealing in his novels; by this means he suggested that street children, like their ragged clothing, were capable of being purified and transformed into social usefulness.en
dc.description.sponsorshipAHRC AH/K00803X/1en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherTaylor and Francisen
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rjvc20/currenten
dc.relation.urlhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13555502.2014.991747en
dc.subjectragsen
dc.subjectpovertyen
dc.subjectCharles Dickensen
dc.subjectrecyclingen
dc.subjectpaperen
dc.subjectchildrenen
dc.titleReading Victorian rags: Recycling, redemption, and Dickens's ragged childrenen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.eissn1750-0133-
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Chesteren
dc.identifier.journalJournal of Victorian Cultureen
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