One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858

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Yale University Press, Jul 18, 2017 - History - 352 pages
A unique, in-depth view of Victorian London during the record-breaking summer of 1858, when residents both famous and now-forgotten endured “The Great Stink” together

While 1858 in London may have been noteworthy for its broiling summer months and the related stench of the sewage-filled Thames River, the year is otherwise little remembered. And yet, historian Rosemary Ashton reveals in this compelling microhistory, 1858 was marked by significant, if unrecognized, turning points. For ordinary people, and also for the rich, famous, and powerful, the months from May to August turned out to be a summer of consequence.
 
Ashton mines Victorian letters and gossip, diaries, court records, newspapers, and other contemporary sources to uncover historically crucial moments in the lives of three protagonists—Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Disraeli. She also introduces others who gained renown in the headlines of the day, among them George Eliot, Karl Marx, William Thackeray, and Edward Bulwer Lytton. Ashton reveals invisible threads of connection among Londoners at every social level in 1858, bringing the celebrated city and its citizens vibrantly to life.
 

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User Review  - Othemts - LibraryThing

This historical work recounts the summer of 1858 in Great Britain, specifically London, during a time defined by unprecedented hot temperatures that exacerbated the foul stench of the polluted River ... Read full review

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858

User Review  - Book Verdict

The summer of 1858 was one of the hottest on record in London. The heat combined with sewage in the Thames to create the "Great Stink," which finally drove Parliament to undertake the cleanup of the ... Read full review

Contents

in history
8
May 1858
46
June 1858 part I
84
June 1858 part II
121
July 1858
158
JulyAugust 1858
195
The aftermath of the hot summer
235
Epilogue
275
Endnotes
287
Select bibliography
314
Index
321
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About the author (2017)

Rosemary Ashton is Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature, University College London. She is author of ten previous books and a fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in London.

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