Visions of Filth: Deviancy and Social Control in the Novels of Galdós

Synopsis

This book explores how notions of deviancy and social control are dramatized in the novels of the late nineteenth-century Spanish realist author Benito Perez Galdes. Galdes's treatment of prostitutes, alcoholics, beggars and vagrants is studied within the context of the socio-cultural and medical debates circulating during the period. Drawing on Foucault's very specific conceptualization of the idea of control through discourses, the book analyzes how Galdes's novels interacted with contemporary debates on poverty and deviancy - notably, discourses on hygiene, domesticity and philanthropy. It is proposed that Galdes's view of marginal social groups was much more open-minded, shrewd and liberal than the often inflexible pronouncements made by contemporary professional voices.

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