Susan M. Zieger F'06

Susan M. Zieger
Associate Professor
English
University of California, Riverside

ACLS Fellowship Program 2006
Assistant Professor
English
University of California, Riverside
Addiction and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century British and American Fiction

This project tells the story of how the concept of addiction emerged from literary, medical, legal, and social reform discourses of slavery, habit, alcoholism, inebriety, and morphinomania. It traces the concept’s transformations through the metaphors of self-enslavement, disease, demonic possession, hunger, and compulsory travel. These metaphors engaged an epistemic and representational paradox: addicts were thought to be liars, and yet only they could attest to the subjective horrors of their dependencies. Nineteenth-century British and American novelists interested in this paradox developed new narrative forms to address it.