Self, taste and place in fictions of contemporary Britishness

Blaj, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5746-3714, 2004. Self, taste and place in fictions of contemporary Britishness. MPhil, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis maps relationships between self, (culinary) taste and place in novels which engage with representations of Britishness after the Second World War. Whereas previous writing on food in fiction revolves mainly around eating disorders, cannibalism or table manners, here, considerations of references to foods and foodways in contemporary fiction interrogate their instrumentality in articulating cultural identities. Such interrogation is necessarily informed by insights from various disciplines: the sociology of food, cultural geography and anthropology.

An overview of the way in which cultural taxonomies rely on conceptualisations of 'authenticity' and 'tradition' in the first chapter is followed, in the second, by an analysis of the culinary coordinates of fictional, (re)territorialisations of urban metropolitan space. The third chapter focuses on an underexplored category of participants in discourses on Britishness in contemporary fiction - children - and engages with the way in which understandings of spatiality from their perspective are marked by culinary experiences. An everyday concern with the culinary coexists, in contemporary fiction, with a tendency to emphasize the exotic appeal of a category of ethnic foods. This is outlined in the last chapter, which tackles consumption in a metaphorical sense and steps outside the ambit of the fictional texts it discusses to comment on the literary reception of texts which capitalise on the exotic cachet of ethnic foods.

Although concerns with the articulation of multiculture through references to food have been addressed in a range of disciplines, this thesis stands out from such studies primarily through its literary focus. Concepts such as 'community' and 'authenticity' and attempts to trace culinary cartographies which unsettle rigid distinctions between private and public space or privilege the viewpoint of children find an artistic expression in contemporary novels which testify with particular acuity to the bearing gender, ethnicity and age have on the way people relate to space and place.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Blaj, L.
Date: 2004
ISBN: 9781369316988
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Oct 2020 13:46
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2023 09:13

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