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The HangoverA Literary and Cultural History$
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Jonanthon Shears

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621198

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621198.001.0001

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Moral Sensitivity and the Mind: Tired and Emotional Victorians

Moral Sensitivity and the Mind: Tired and Emotional Victorians

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 5 Moral Sensitivity and the Mind: Tired and Emotional Victorians
Source:
The Hangover
Author(s):

Jonathon Shears

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789621198.003.0006

The Victorian period is often remembered as a morally severe one, associated with rectitude, propriety, temperance and self-help. This chapter argues that hangover literature provides an important means to understand the social and cultural values that drinkers were perceived to have transgressed. Nevertheless, the tendency in Victorian literature was to humanise the figure of the drunkard and hangovers were a part of this. Through analysis of depictions of hangovers in works by Charles Dickens, Anne Brontë, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy, the chapter argues that Victorian novelists demonstrated many reasons why drinkers felt shame but also – drawing on better medical understanding of the nerves and the mind – their emotional complexity. It shows that they reversed some of the more straightforward condemnation of inebriates commonly found in temperance literature.

Keywords:   hangover, morality, medicine and psychology, temperance, realist novels

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