By Lisa Angelella
Modernism frequently reveled within the lack of keep watch over, the permeation of non-public
boundaries, the creation of ambiguity, that evocation of the senses brings approximately. It
strove to loosen the buildings 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, anyone
takes the skin international into him or herself. The senses that precede, imbue and keep on with
eating threaten and go beyond the integrity of the topic. I argue that by means of foregrounding
such moments, Modernists posited a phenomenological view of subjectivity, one that
can top be illuminated through the paintings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Guided through his concept 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 express how characters, of their encounters with
sensual otherness, consider themselves triumph over in poignant moments of ecstasy, disgust, or
revelation of self-constitution throughout the alimentary. I additionally argue that Modernist fiction
does not just exhibit Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, but in addition nuances his undying and
placeless presentation of the stumble upon among a common topic and any item, by means of
considering the sensual consuming event inside a number of ancient foodstuff stipulations, such
as the explosion of the canned nutrients and the sluggish dissolution of the formal
meal, and from numerous topic positions, in keeping with gender, ethnicity or relative political
empowerment. In enticing phenomenology, my venture deviates from the lengthy culture
in scholarship of contemplating symbolic and structural meanings to the occlusion of feel.
In every one consuming scene I discover I give some thought to how gustatory, haptic, and fragrant properties
of nutrients objects—such as liquidness, sweetness, bloodiness and lightness—intervene in
more cerebral human relatives. basic to the attention-grabbing Modernist depictions of
food and consuming, is the concept the senses have an indisputable impression on human affairs in
their personal correct.
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Additional info for Alimentary Modernism
For most Americans at the time, Nick’s spaghetti would have suggested Italian/ American ties in World War I. 10 What is notable here (and again with the spaghetti in “Big Two-Hearted River”) is that Hemingway does not mobilize only the human, symbolic meaning of the spaghetti, symbolic meaning, but its non-human, inexpressible sensations. He fleshes it out in its own, strange sensual particularity. Hemingway makes the sensual qualities of this food object a salient presence, a non-human physical thing intervening in this scene of human conflict.
According to phenomenology, however, people have no choice but to be constantly open to otherness. While literature can describe resistance to or disgust with such encounters, the Modernist phenomenological presentation of eating implies that the body is open where the mind is not and there is ultimately no refusing to engage with things other than oneself. In my final three chapters I show how Woolf, Joyce and Cather take advantage of this fact and foreground underrepresented groups by foregrounding their bodies.
Thirdly, like Henry and Jordan who eat outdoors, he reconnects to nature through his eating. Eating is an experience for Nick in which he feels the boundaries of his subjectivity to be overcome by the food he consumes: He feels himself intermingle with nature through the meal. Though he eats from cans, Nick fuses his industrially-produced food back with natural elements. He makes his coffee with river water. He warms the meal with the natural heat of an open fire. As is the case with the eater in Farewell to Arms, he contacts the food without the mediation of man-made utensils—eating with his hands as he mops up the sauce of his dinner with bread, and drinking the apricots straight from the can.