The Dunciad as Heterotopia and "Social Text"

If we imagine a particular digital edition within this edition of London, we can imagine another way of mapping space to books, that is, visualizing the materiality of the city alongside its imagined literary topographies, as a heterotopia (as first described by Foucault and first posited in terms of The Dunciad by Brean Hammond in "The Dunciad and the City: Pope and Heterotopia") or as social text (as described by McGann).

Here we have a digital page, with a variety of optional links, to Maps, People, Events, Publications, Images, or References associated with the place “Fleet Ditch.” Choosing Maps, we can then see Strype’s 1720 representation of the ditch.

Here in turn we can link to the same set of categories whereby we can access any available texts prior to the Dunciad that mention “Fleet Ditch”:

In 1701, a character near dead of consumption is revived by its “dear perfume” and “made a man again.”

We can read of an elixir of Roses sold by Dr. Danck on the Bridewell side of the ditch.

We can read of its “sable Streams” in Garth Samuel’s 1709 edition of The Dispensary.

We can see the term appear again in John Gay’s Trivia (1716) ...

and again in Pope’s Dunciad.

We can investigate Bridewell Bridge, depicted in a 1740s edition of Pope’s Works, and ...

...we can see other images associated with Bridewell, such as this idealized, clean and linear view from Strype...

Finally, we might wish to compare the Fleet with the shining Thames, and...

we might be disappointed to see Ned Ward’s depiction of the site downstream in “A Frolick to Horn-Fair” in which he and his Lady get into a boat at Billingsgate Stairs only to have the outing take a wrong turn when “an unlucky Rogue, with Bridewel Looks, and a Ladle in his Hand, Fishes up a floating Sir-Reverence in his Wooden Vehicle, and gives it an unfortunate toss upon my Ladies Bubbies…. It being lodg’d in the Cavity, between her Breasts and her Stays, she could not shake it off, but I was forced to lend a Hand, to remove the Pois’nous Pellat from her Snowy Temptations, giving on’t a toss into another Boat, with like Success, wounding an old Cuckoldly Waterman just in the forehead…”

Or we might discover another heterotopic vision, Samuel Scott’s version of the River Thames and the mouth of the River Fleet from 1750 .