The Bleeding Heart of Criminal Geography in Dickens’ London

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


In this chapter explores the representation of the urban criminal site in two Dickensian novels. If Oliver Twist largely repeats the conventional division of spaces that enables easy localisation and control of the criminal world, Great Expectations stages a blurring of those sites. The criminal is no longer circumscribed within specific bounds in the city space. The geographical instability of criminal mobility is apparent in the emergence of a criminal subject who can no longer be defined as separate from the Victorian subject. The criminal site is the locus of this production of a Victorian criminal subject—a bleeding heart,—which carries or ‘bleeds’ its influence into the rest of the city, at the same time as it is produced as the place of control and containment of criminality.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Paris DiderotParisFrance

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