Food in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Food And Gender - Essay

David Luisi (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Luisi, David. “Some Aspects of Emily Dickinson's Food and Liquor Poems.” English Studies 52, no. 1 (February 1971): 32-40.

[In the following essay, Luisi examines approximately fifty of Dickinson's poems in which food imagery is used as a metaphor for the poet's thoughts on Puritanism and Epicureanism, as well as on want and satisfaction.]

Among the poems of Emily Dickinson are an impressive number which deal directly or indirectly with food and liquor. Of the more than two hundred poems which employ this kind of imagery, approximately three quarters of them do so in a subordinate fashion. The remaining fifty or more poems, however, provide a sufficient...

(The entire section is 3606 words.)

Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar (essay date 1979)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. “The Genesis of Hunger According to Shirley.” In The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, pp. 372-98. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.

[In the following essay, Gilbert and Gubar evaluate Charlotte Brontë's use of food metaphors in Shirley to describe a more pervasive hunger afflicting women writers and characters in the patriarchal culture of nineteenth-century England.]

I was, being human, born alone;
I am, being woman, hard beset;
I live by squeezing from a stone
The little nourishment I get.

—Elinor Wylie


(The entire section is 10623 words.)

Maggie Lane (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lane, Maggie. “Greed and Gender.” In Jane Austen and Food, pp. 77-100. London: The Hambledon Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Lane discusses the nineteenth-century notion that an appetite for food was associated with both greed and sexual desire and thus considered indelicate in females.]

Jane Austen was not quite twelve years old when the Reverend John Trusler's book The Honours of the Table for the Use of Young People was published. In this work Trusler declares, with perfect seriousness, that to eat very much ‘is now deemed indelicate in a lady, for her character should be rather divine than sensual’.1 One can imagine Mrs...

(The entire section is 10915 words.)

Francis L. Fennell and Monica A. Fennell (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fennell, Francis L., and Monica A. Fennell. “‘Ladies—Loaf Givers’: Food, Women, and Society in the Novels of Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot.” In Keeping the Victorian House: A Collection of Essays, edited by Vanessa D. Dickerson, pp. 235-58. New York: Garland, 1995.

[In the following essay, the critics explore the prescribed roles for women in Victorian society involving food preparation and food serving, and the ways in which Brontë and Eliot incorporated those roles into their fiction.]

[Cooking] means the knowledge of Medea, and of Circe, and of Calypso, and of Helen, and of Rebekah, and of the Queen of Sheba. It means the...

(The entire section is 8251 words.)