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Meat Markets

The Cultural History of Bloody London

Ted Geier

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Abjective ecologies of British humans, animals, and other nonhumans in cultural forms of nineteenth-century literature, from Dracula to Bovril

Meat Markets articulates the emergent ‘nonhuman thought’ developed across literatures of the long nineteenth century and inflecting recent critical theories of abject life and animality. It presents important connections between meat and popular serial press industries, the intersections of criminals and public readership, and the long history of bloody spectacle at London’s Smithfield Market including public executions, criminal escapades, death and horror tales, and the fungible ‘penny press’ forms of mass consumption. Through analysis of subjection, address, and narration in canonical and penny literatures, this book reveals the mutual forces of concern and consumption that afflict objects of a weird cultural history of bloody London across the long nineteenth century. Players include butchers, Smithfield, Parliament, Dickens, Romantics, Sweeney Todd, cattle, and a strange, impossible London.

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Introduction: ‘A condition more abject…’ Meat City and Nonhuman Objects
1. A Parliament of Monsters: Romantic Nonhumans & Victorian Erasure
2. Meat Without Animals: Outcast Objects and the Improvement of London
3. Mass Production: Impossible London’s Criminal Subjects
Conclusion: PostMeat.

About the Author

Ted Geier is Assistant Professor of Communication Arts at Ashford University and Lecturer in American Studies at UC Davis. He was a 2015-16 Mellon Fellow in the Rice University Seminars, ‘After Biopolitics’, and has taught literature, film, and Animal Studies at Rice, Davis, and San Francisco State University. He is the author of Kafka’s Nonhuman Form: Troubling the Boundaries of the Kafkaesque (2016) and articles on Calvino, World EcoLiteratures, and film.


Meat Markets tells a haunted and haunting story, tracing the intertwined abjection of animals—human and nonhuman—in the nineteenth-century British metropole. Geier’s prose crackles with a sumptuous energy, quickened throughout by the call to do justice to life and the living amid the squalor and death of a blood-soaked biopolitical world of which we are the inheritors.

- David Clark, McMaster University

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