Carnegie PhD Scholar awarded Robertson Medal 2023-24
Project Title: The Rhetoric of Health and Wellness in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain
Towards the end of the nineteenth century a number of factors led to increased access to a growing and diverse body of health texts, alongside heightened individual power to make health choices – for example, dietary choices. My research explores the rhetoric of health and wellness in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain, focusing on two key contributors to the emerging genre of wellness and self-help.
Thomas Allinson and Eustace Miles had similar health philosophies, advocating prevention over cure and promoting holistic life reform. Both entrepreneurs marketed health foods in the flourishing Edwardian wellness market and published widely, from product advertisements to self-help manuals. I am adopting a combination of discourse approaches to explore the ways by which Allinson and Miles constructed authority and credibility on health topics, as well as how they constructed solidarity with their readers.
Wellness as we know it today, with buzzwords such as ‘pure’ and ‘natural’, wellness influencers on social media, and the notion of looking after our bodies to prevent disease, has a long and under-researched history. Analysing the persuasive strategies used by Allinson and Miles will allow this thesis to generate valuable insight into the health and wellness market of early Edwardian Britain.
Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship
Field: English Language & Linguistics
University: University of Glasgow