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Pamela Gilbert - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Pamela Gilbert

Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Pamela Gilbert’s current work focuses on the history of the body, medicine and literature in the 19th century.


Pamela Gilbert is the Albert Brick Professor in the Department of English of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her current work focuses on the history of the body, medicine and literature in the 19th century and discourses around epidemic disease. This is an extension of Pamela's work on the history of the body and medicine in the period and of the history of genre. Her other areas of interest include gender, popular literature and medical humanities.

Areas of Expertise (3)

British Literature

Victorian Literature

Medical Humanities

Media Appearances (2)

Florida expands access to vaccines, but excludes higher education faculty

The Independent Florida Alligator  online


Pamela Gilbert, an English professor at UF, said UF Health is doing the best it can during a difficult situation, but she’s not satisfied with the state’s rollout of the vaccine so far.

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Victorian Skin: Surface, Self, History

UF Department of English  online


In Victorian Skin, Gilbert uses literary, philosophical, medical, and scientific discourses about skin to trace the development of a broader discussion of what it meant to be human in the nineteenth century. Where is subjectivity located? How do we communicate with and understand each other’s feelings?

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Articles (5)

Nineteenth-Century Literature in Transition: The 1860s

Cambridge University Press

Pamela K. Gilbert


Offering an in-depth overview and reappraisal of the 1860s in British literature, this innovative volume features in-depth analyses from noted scholars at the tops of their fields. Covering characteristic literary genres of the 1860s (including sensation and lyric, as well as Golden Age children's literature), and topics of current and enduring interest in the field, from empire and slavery to evolution, environmental issues and economics, it incorporates drama as well as poetry and fiction, and emphasizes the history of...

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Victorian Studies

Pamela K. Gilbert


In the nineteenth century, a new term emerged for moral disgust, which then, as now, sat uneasily within physiologically and socially based models of emotions. The history of “antipathy”—antagonist of that politically and aesthetically important emotion, sympathy—reveals tensions in liberal society around the role of moral disgust.

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Watering Holes: Healthy Waters and Moral Dangers in the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Medicine and Mobility in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, History, and Culture

Pamela K. Gilbert


Western European spa and sea bathing enjoyed renewed popularity, as new models of the body came to frame both skin cleanliness and perspiration as necessary to health. But even in the mid-nineteenth century, the focus on encouraging the skin’s excretions evoked the opposite possibility: many worried that both the skin’s amazing porosity and the disproportionate attention given to the body made the self vulnerable to “foreign” elements.

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Responsibility and Community: Narrating the Individual and the Collective in Pandemic Times

Journal of Victorian Culture

Pamela K. Gilbert


Epidemics are times of negotiation between the individual and the collective. The British realist novel, with its emphasis on possessive individualism, turns in the mid-nineteenth century to engage a larger population brought into view, in large part, by the emergence of statistical models of public health. Dickens is critically engaged in this process in Bleak House, which shows the difficulties of negotiating between the plot of individual agency and representing collective suffering and responsibility.

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Skin Deep: Reading Race in the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Home Victorian Surfaces in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Pamela K. Gilbert


In the Enlightenment, the body’s surface became an object of interpretation in new ways, as destabilization of traditional social structures encouraged readings of the body as the manifestation of an individual. Yet, even as human freedom and autonomy become central, the category of the human becomes increasingly and exclusively white. Literature returns repeatedly to the difficult problem of the racial other whose otherness is only ambiguously perceptible: the mixed-race character.

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Pamela Gilbert - Pamela Gilbert - Victorian Skin