Digesting Modernism: Representations of Food and Incorporation in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French Fiction

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Digesting Modernism: Representations of Food and Incorporation in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French Fiction

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Title: Digesting Modernism: Representations of Food and Incorporation in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French Fiction
Author: Rose, Kathryn Germaine
Citation: Rose, Kathryn Germaine. 2013. Digesting Modernism: Representations of Food and Incorporation in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French Fiction. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: This dissertation examines the link between food and writing about food in French modernist texts in nineteenth and twentieth-century French novels, tracing the central role of food in realist fiction as an encoder of bourgeois discourse to its persisting, yet altered, role in modernist texts. While the propagation of gastronomy and culinary discourse through realist texts presupposes and relies on the seamless conversion of diners into readers and the meal into text, this dissertation has at its root the exploration of the narrative potential inherent in the creation of space in conspicuous "second-order" consumption, leaving the diner and the reader, and the meal and the text, side-by-side, in play. I reflect on how the deliberate alignment and co-staging of the meal and the word (or the diner and the reader), rather than their conflation and collapse, throws into relief not only the act of incorporating the meal, but also the extradiegetic moment of incorporating the text, or a (self-)consciousness of the meal as text. I explore how this shift in the staging of food and eating is not only a hallmark of the play that characterizes modernist novels, which inscribe self-conscious moments of their own creation and consumption within the narrative itself, but also a key element in understanding the shifts from realism to modernism, as the meal remains central to both while at the same time crystallizing key differences in how narratives are crafted in each.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11181169
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