Gastro-modernism: Food, Literature, Culture

BookGastro-modernism: Food, Literature, Culture

Gastro-modernism: Food, Literature, Culture

Clemson University Press


September 10th, 2019



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This volume of essays surveys gastronomy across global literary modernisms. Modernists explore public and domestic spaces where food and drink are prepared and served, as much as they create them in the modernist imagination through narrative, language, verse, and style. Modernism as a cultural and artistic movement also highlights the historical politics of food and eating. As the chapters in Gastro-Modernism reveal, critical trends in food studies alert us to many social concerns that emerge in the modernist period because of expanding food literacy and culture. The result is that food production, consumption, and scarcity are abiding themes in modernist literature and culture, reflecting tensions amidst colonial, agricultural, and industrial settings. This timely volume ultimately shows how global literary modernisms engage with food culture known as gastronomy to express anxieties about modernity as much as to celebrate the excesses modern lifestyles produce.


‘Contributing to an increasingly expanding field, the essays collected in Gastro-modernism explore the personal, collective, political, historical, and aesthetic role of food in a range of modernist works. Gladwin’s collection constitutes a highly useful and readable resource for students and scholars interested in the insightful, sometimes latent, sometimes overt, but always fascinating intersections and connection between food studies and literary modernist studies.’
Maria Christou, University of Manchester, author of Eating Otherwise: The Philosophy of Food in Twentieth Century Literature

‘In Gastro-modernism¸ the landscapes of literary modernism become fascinating foodscapes, compelling us to examine its literary, artistic, and epistemic forms anew. There is a lot on the menu here. The domestic dinner party in Woolf’s writing, the synesthetic pleasures of Joyce’s prose, the starving artist of Mina Loy’s work, and the food memoirs of MFK Fisher are only a few of the many offerings. Importantly for students and scholards of the period, this collection is cognizant of significant developments in food studies relating to eco-modernism, modernist gender studies, and postcolonial-modernism, which inform its wide range of essays. Indeed, Gastro-modernism, itself an important key term that frames the essays, is sure to change the way we approach the field at large.’
Gitanjali Shahani, San Francisco State University, author of Tasting Difference and editor of Food and Literature

The emergent modernist food studies which [Gastro-Modernism] represent[s] then is very much of its moment and is a logical next step in our continued critical exploration of the legacy of new modernist studies and its political, cross-cultural, and material turn.
Rebecca Bowler, Modernism/modernity

‘Collections like Gastro-Modernism and others in the latest boom demonstrate the potential for modernist food studies as they sow generative connections and enrich subfields far more effectively than keeping the same canonical texts and authors in their separate silos.’
Jessica Martell, James Joyce Quarterly

Author Information

Derek Gladwin is Assistant Professor in Language and Literacy Education at University of British Columbia. His authored or co-edited books include Eco-Joyce (co-ed, 2014), Unfolding Irish Landscapes (co-ed, 2016), Contentious Terrains (2016), and Ecological Exile (2018). Please visit

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures9
List of Contributors11
Introducing Le Menu: Consuming Modernist Food Studies15
I Culture and Consumption33
1. Sweet Bean Paste and Excrement: Food, Humor, and Gender in Osaki Midori's Writings35
2. What Is Eating For? Food and Function in James Joyce's Fiction49
3. A Woolf at the Table: Virginia Woolf and the Domestic Dinner Party67
II Decadence and Absence81
4. The Social and Cultural Uses of Food Separation83
5. Against Culinary Art: Mina Loy and the Modernist Starving Artist97
6. Cocktails with Noël Coward113
7. Late Modernist Rationing: War, Class, Power131
III Taste and Disgust147
8. Objects of Disgust: A Moveable Feast and the Modernist Anti-Vomitive149
9. “We were very lonely without those berries”: Gastronomic Colonialism in Canada's Indian Residential Schools167
10. From “Squalid Food” to “Proper Cuisine”: Food and the Fare in the Works of T. S. Eliot179
IV Appetites and Diets195
11. “The Raw and the Cooked”: Food and Modernist Poetry197
12. Weight-Loss Regimes as Improvisation in Louis Armstrong’s and Duke Ellington’s Life Writing207
13. Kitchen Talk: Marguerite Duras's Experiments with Culinary Matter223