Journal of Romance Studies

Disorderly eating in contemporary women’s writing

Introductory essay

Journal of Romance Studies (2020), 20, (2), 193–223.


The Introduction presents the rationale for this special issue, and engages with key scholarship in the field. It makes the case for considering eating disorders in the wider context of ‘disorderly eating’, both as a sociological phenomenon and a recurrent literary concern, granted the importance of ordering and regulating food consumption for community cohesion. It is particularly concerned to ask what is, and what is not, specific about the contemporary late-capitalist period, which has seen such an explosion of eating disorders, in the context of ever more disorderly eating. We ask what we can learn from the elaboration of the disorderly preparing, serving, sharing, and eating of food specifically in contemporary women’s writing in French, Spanish, English, Italian, and German. The Introduction adopts a cross-cultural perspective to suggest both some commonalities and some contextual specificities to the lived and represented experience of eating and disorder across sexes, classes, generations, and ethnicities.

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Author details

Jordan, Shirley

Still, Judith