Eating otherwise : food and being in twentieth-century literature

Christou, Maria and Schad, John (2015) Eating otherwise : food and being in twentieth-century literature. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of 2016ChristouPhD.pdf]
Microsoft Word (2016ChristouPhD.pdf)
2016ChristouPhD.pdf.docx - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs.

Download (2MB)


Eating Otherwise: Food and Being in Twentieth-Century Literature thinks the ‘you are what you eat’ adage otherwise, exploring the entanglement of the ontological with the alimentary in twentieth-century literature. Since its inception more than thirty years ago, the booming field of literary food studies has shied away from engaging with the interrelation between the question of being (what one is) and the question of eating (what and how one eats). The assumption behind this seems to be that the ‘base’ question of eating, as something that is located in the ‘here and now’, clashes or is incompatible with ‘lofty’ ontological preoccupations, which are traditionally associated with a conception of being as predetermined and immutable. Eating Otherwise challenges such assumptions, arguing that acts of ‘eating otherwise’ feature as means to ways of ‘being otherwise’ in the literature of the twentieth century, focusing primarily on the works of Georges Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Paul Auster, and Margaret Atwood. This selection of authors provides a distinction between the two halves of the twentieth century, the first generally associated with the modernist movement – where acts of eating otherwise can be seen as implementations of the injunction to ‘make it new’ – and the second generally associated with the postmodernist movement, where acts of eating otherwise can be seen as attempts to shake off the modernist influence, attempts which paradoxically take the form of incorporation. As well as uncovering the entanglement of the question of being with the question of eating in twentieth-century literature, then, and the possibility of ontological transformation that it points toward, the ontologico-alimentary investigations of this study also provide a perspective through which the relationship between the modern and the postmodern can be theorised.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
03 May 2016 08:08
Last Modified:
10 Dec 2023 01:14