Food in Literature Criticism: Rituals Invloving Food - Essay

Lindsey Tucker (essay date 1983)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Duffy's Last Supper: Food, Language, and the Failure of Integrative Processes in ‘A Painful Case,’” in Irish Renaissance Annual, Vol. 4, 1983, pp. 118-27.

[In the following essay, Tucker discusses the relationship of food and religious ritual in James Joyce's story “A Painful Case.”]

Any discussion of James Joyce's “A Painful Case” comes up against three troublesome concerns. First, the story is one that Joyce considered one of the two weakest in Dubliners.1 Second, it contains a considerable amount of autobiographical detail lifted directly from the diary of his brother Stanislaus.2 Debate over whether this...

(The entire section is 3176 words.)

Joy L. Davis (essay date Summer 1993)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Rituals of Dining in Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence,” in The Midwest Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 4, Summer, 1993, pp. 465-80.

[In the following essay, Davis theorizes that Wharton's dining scenes are metaphorical representations of the social and personal relationships among her characters.]

The act of dining fascinated Edith Wharton as a social ritual exposing aspects of human behavior that people in her world preferred to conceal. Beneath the complex etiquette of their formal dinners she saw people torn by rivalries, revolts, hostilities, and betrayals. In their social posturings they could divert and deceive where concealment was crucial....

(The entire section is 4594 words.)

Lamar York (essay date Summer 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Breakfast at Flannery's,” in Modern Age, Vol. 38, No. 3, Summer, 1996, pp. 245-52.

[In the following essay, York offers a survey of dining and mealtime rituals as portrayed in Flannery O'Connor's short stories.]

Flannery O'Connor made the peacock as familiar a cachet of Southern fiction as the Persians made the phoenix of mystical iconography. The two great birds can still be found together in Georgia, O'Connor's peacock feathers shared with countless established and aspiring writer-friends of hers, and the fabled phoenix on the great seal of the City of Atlanta. How fowl came to play so large a role in O'Connor's imagination is as mysterious as the...

(The entire section is 4550 words.)