Alimentary Modernism by Lisa Angelella

By Lisa Angelella

Modernism frequently reveled within the lack of keep watch over, the permeation of non-public
boundaries, the advent of ambiguity, that evocation of the senses brings approximately. It
strove to loosen the constructions and different types tradition inscribes. during this dissertation, I argue
that foodstuff 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 skin global into him or herself. The senses that precede, imbue and stick to
eating threaten and go beyond the integrity of the topic. I argue that through foregrounding
such moments, Modernists posited a phenomenological view of subjectivity, one that
can most sensible be illuminated by way of the paintings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Guided by means of his conception of
intersubjectivity, I discover the phenomenological presentation of specific sensual
encounters with nutrition within the paintings of Enrest Hemingway, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia
Woolf, James Joyce and Willa Cather. I convey how characters, of their encounters with
sensual otherness, think 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 exhibit Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, but additionally nuances his undying and
placeless presentation of the come across among a common topic and any item, through
considering the sensual consuming event inside a variety of ancient nutrition stipulations, such
as the explosion of the canned nutrition and the sluggish dissolution of the formal
meal, and from a variety of topic positions, according to gender, ethnicity or relative political
empowerment. In enticing phenomenology, my undertaking deviates from the lengthy culture
in scholarship of contemplating symbolic and structural meanings to the occlusion of experience.
In each one consuming scene I discover I reflect on how gustatory, haptic, and fragrant properties
of foodstuff objects—such as liquidness, sweetness, bloodiness and lightness—intervene in
more cerebral human family members. basic to the interesting Modernist depictions of
food and consuming, is the concept that the senses have an indisputable impression on human affairs in
their personal correct.

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As tastiness diminished, one of the major links between humans and the outside world was being eroded; Hemingway makes Nick vulnerable again to nature’s various sensations. The loss of sensual dimensions in canned foods, such as the non-visual senses and especially taste, register the degree to which the human subject has power over nature: the power to render it utilitarian and not be influenced by its extra-functional meanings, such as the beauty and tranquility Marcuse describes. The food industry reduced people’s ability to access to nature through foodstuffs as well, by manipulating the natural states of foods.

47 Moreover, advertising emerged as a new power in the food industry, via marketing trailblazers like Heinz and Lipton. It tended to abstract foods, associating them with various immaterial qualities, and with visual, rather than smell and taste qualities. Displayed in magazines, or in pictures on the package, the foodstuff’s primary appeal was through vision—the most intellectual sense replaced the proximity senses’ direct comprehension of food. F. losing touch, in the literal sense, with nature.

As Cohen frames his argument with MerleauPonty, among other theorists of the body, his study will be a very interesting one to read against my own, but unfortunately, I was unable to attain a copy of this new book in time to incorporate it here. 6 In an essay on the “Penelope” chapter of Joyce’s Ulysses, Richard Brown collects some statements on the body from canonical Modernists. He mentions that Woolf, in her essay “On Being Ill,” writes, “All day and all night the body intervenes…but of all this daily drama of the body there is no record” (Richard Brown 110).

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