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By Lisa Angelella

Modernism usually reveled within the lack of keep an eye on, the permeation of non-public
boundaries, the creation of ambiguity, that evocation of the senses brings approximately. It
strove to loosen the buildings and different types tradition inscribes. during this dissertation, I argue
that meals scenes represent the crux of many pivotal moments in Modernist fiction and
express a philosophy of the human topic. Modernists argue that, in consuming, an individual
takes the surface global into him or herself. The senses that precede, imbue and stick with
eating threaten and go beyond the integrity of the topic. I argue that by means of foregrounding
such moments, Modernists posited a phenomenological view of subjectivity, one that
can top be illuminated through the paintings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Guided by way of his conception of
intersubjectivity, I discover the phenomenological presentation of specific sensual
encounters with foodstuff within the paintings of Enrest Hemingway, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia
Woolf, James Joyce and Willa Cather. I express how characters, of their encounters with
sensual otherness, suppose themselves triumph over in poignant moments of ecstasy, disgust, or
revelation of self-constitution in the course of the alimentary. I additionally argue that Modernist fiction
does not just reveal Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, but additionally nuances his undying and
placeless presentation of the come across among a common topic and any item, via
considering the sensual consuming event inside a variety of historic nutrients stipulations, such
as the explosion of the canned foodstuff and the sluggish dissolution of the formal
meal, and from a number of topic positions, in line with gender, ethnicity or relative political
empowerment. In enticing phenomenology, my venture deviates from the lengthy culture
in scholarship of contemplating symbolic and structural meanings to the occlusion of feel.
In every one consuming scene I discover I think about how gustatory, haptic, and fragrant properties
of nutrition objects—such as liquidness, sweetness, bloodiness and lightness—intervene in
more cerebral human kin. primary to the attention-grabbing Modernist depictions of
food and consuming, is the concept the senses have an indisputable influence on human affairs in
their personal correct.

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Additional info for Alimentary Modernism

Sample text

Partaking of the food, Nick is unable to speak—after tasting his spaghetti and beans, he makes only vague expletives: “Chrisse. ” I argue that this exclamation suggests that Nick has lost himself in sensation. Sheldon Norman Grebstein claims of Nick’s response: “the slurred enunciation of the oath copies the cautious deliberately slack contouring of the mouth when a person eats something hot and tries to say something at the same time” (151). In this reading, Nick’s speaking mouth has become an eating mouth: Nick as acting, speaking subject, is overcome by the substances he ingests.

I place this story within a contemporary ecological movement that posited the interdependence of man and nature. I begin the dissertation with this chapter because it best shows the potential of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology to think in a nonanthropocentric way. Hemingway’s ecologically-minded consideration of the human’s positioning within a larger sensual world paves the way for the Modernist depictions of human vulnerability to material things which I describe throughout the dissertation. In the second chapter, “Emotions and Jam: Sweets, Snacks and Feeling in the Stories of Katherine Mansfield,” I show how Mansfield renders her characters ecstatic in sensual encounters, thereby imagining human relationships with objects to compensate for social alienation.

Today, the Can Manufacturers Institute declares on their website that “the history of the can is literally a history of Western Civilization” (Can Central). In The Story of Canned Foods (1924), written a year before In Our Time, James Collins celebrates the liberation canned products grant from limitation to local foodstuffs or to contingencies of the growing season or even to the necessity of dealing with food in its natural, raw form (as foods, instead, come ready to eat in cans). He describes a canned cornucopia: A regular Arabian Nights garden, where raspberries, apricots, olives, and pineapples, always ripe, grow side by side with peas, pumpkins, and spinach; a garden with baked beans, vines and spaghetti bushes, and sauerkraut bed, and great cauldrons of hot soups, and through it running a branch of the ocean in which one can catch salmon, lobsters, crabs and shrimp, and dig oysters and clams.

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Alimentary Modernism by Lisa Angelella


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