This volume aims to add to the rich tradition of exegesis on the place of food and drink in French society and culture. It deals predominantly with literary representations of eating and drinking, past and present, and covers topics ranging from gastronomy to anorexia, from sobriety to ebriety, and from overt to covert food practices. All the literary genres are represented, including pantomime and "l'criture gourmande," and the essays presented here also cover a variety of periods, from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Various social and cultural groups find themselves the subject of attention: the eighteenth-century "gourmand," the nineteenth-century bourgeois or the working class at the dawn of the twentieth century, to name a few. What emerges from this diversity, however, is an understanding of the complex nature of our relationship to food and drink, and a heightened awareness of the importance of the culinary, not only in social and cultural terms, but also as an ideological indicator and as a rich source of metaphor. John West-Sooby teaches at the Centre for European Studies at the University of Adelaide.
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