Food in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: Overviews - Essay

James W. Brown (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brown, James W. “Alimentary Discourse in Nineteenth-Century Social Theory: Pierre Leroux, Etienne Cabet and Charles Fourier.” Dalhousie French Studies 11 (fall-winter 1986): 72-95.

[In the following essay, Brown examines the way food is treated as a marker of equality and “collective activity” in the writings of nineteenth-century utopian social theorists and also by some novelists—George Sand, Victor Hugo, and Eugène Sue—who were influenced by them.]

The years 1825-1848 witnessed the rise of Socialist thought in France and, concomitantly, many writers and novelists explored social themes in their works. Several influences contributed to the...

(The entire section is 9108 words.)

William F. Long (essay date 1988)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Long, William F. “Dickens and the Adulteration of Food.” The Dickensian, 84, no. 3 (autumn 1988): 160-70.

[In the following essay, Long discusses Dickens's participation in the national debate on the common nineteenth-century practice of adulterating food and drink.]

Much tension in Dickens's early work derives from the juxtaposition of scenes in which food and drink are consumed—sometimes seemingly continuously—with others of near or actual starvation. In later work, descriptions of meals increasingly serve to illustrate character traits and advance plots. A third aspect of Dickens's writing about food is his frequent reference to its poor quality....

(The entire section is 4739 words.)

Maggie Lane (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lane, Maggie. “Mealtimes, Menus, Manners.” In Jane Austen and Food, pp. 25-54. London: The Hambledon Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Lane traces the changing customs governing dining practices in Austen's time and explains how various foodways served as indications of social class.]

The society of which Jane Austen wrote being both more leisured and more formal than our own, the timing and nature of the meals which punctuated daily life, and the conventions and etiquette attaching to them, naturally differed in various ways from those we are familiar with.

At Chawton the breakfast hour was nine o'clock, but this seems to have been...

(The entire section is 13813 words.)

Musya Glants and Joyce Toomre (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Glants, Musya and Joyce Toomre. Introduction to Food in Russian History and Culture, pp. xi-xxvii. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.

[In the following essay, Glants and Toomre provide an overview of the use of food customs as a metaphor for Russian national culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.]

The chronicle of everyday life brings the past closer to us with a social sharpness and vividness. In order to understand Leo Tolstoy or Chekhov more clearly, for instance, we need to know the daily life of their epoch. Even the poetry of Pushkin achieves its full luster only for those who know the everyday life of his...

(The entire section is 7488 words.)