“…so much immortal wealth”: Life in the Sick-Room by Harriet Martineau as Eco-Sustainable Narrative

by Loredana Salis

This study reassesses Harriet Martineau’s Life in the Sick-Room as an example of Victorian eco-sustainable narrative. Based on the author’s real-life experience as a long-term patient, the volume was conceived as a normative treatise on the condition of the invalid, and contributed significantly to ongoing debates on the reform of the medical system. Though the author does not deliberately provide readers with an ecological message, she advocates a remedial process that sees nature as a refuge and a redemptive space. A re-reading of Life in the Sick-Room today shows its value from an eco-critical viewpoint.