English, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Oxford Bibliographies in Victorian Literature. Ed. Juliet John. Oxford University Press. (March 2018) http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199799558/obo-9780199799558-0148.xml


Copyright 2018 Oxford University Press. Used by permission.


The nineteenth century is extremely important for the study of embodiment because it is the period in which the modern body, as we currently understand it, was most thoroughly explored. This was the era when modern medical models of the body were developed and disseminated, when modern political relations to the body were instantiated, and when modern identities in relation to class, race, and gender were inscribed. While questions about the distinctions between personhood and the body were studied by the ancients, nineteenth-century developments in technology, economics, medicine, and science rendered such categories newly important for Britons who were the first to experience a fully industrialized society. This entry is designed to outline the changing experiences of embodiment in the Victorian period, and is therefore divided into the following sections: anatomy, gender, femininity, masculinity, health and sickness, industrialized and technologized bodies, physiology and reading, evolution and race, disability, adolescence, and old age.