With Whom We Eat: Literature and Commensality


Project Summary:

In his essay “On Experience,” the sixteenth-century philosopher Michel de Montaigne asserts, “We should not so much consider what we eat as with whom we eat.” My next monograph, With Whom We Eat: Literature and Commensality, explores the concept of commensality—the relationships produced by acts of eating, the “with whom” of food—in imaginative literature from the ancient, early modern, and contemporary periods. The project seeks to define commensality as fundamental to a cultural understanding of food, to explore the centrality of the concept in literary texts, and to demonstrate the importance of literary criticism to the burgeoning discipline of food studies—a discipline in which the study of imaginative writing is often marginalized. The project views literary history from the perspective of food in order to divine what we can learn from them in the context of our own relationships to eating.

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Project Type:
Funded

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Principal Investigator

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SSHRC

Year Project Started:
2016

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