Street Dialectics

Street Dialectics George du Maurier. Scanned image and text by George P. Landow [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Commentary: This urban scene is unusual in English Society in several ways: it relies upon dialogue of a member of the working classes, and it has both snappy dialogue and dramatic physical action. Note, in particular, the body language of the bobby in the background, the angry pedestrian, the coachman, and, above, all the crossing sweeper.

Having mentioned the street sweeper, I'll suggest that you consider two related questions: (1) Why did Victorian need so many sweepers (such as Jo in Bleak House)? and (2) Why are modern vehicles so much better for the environment than Victorian ones? Hint: Have you ever seen a street after a mounted policeman or horse-and-carriage have passed? [GPL]


du Maurier, George. English Society. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897.

Last modified 1 July 2001