Professor Anne Cheng
“There are three important things in life. The first is to eat well, and. . . I have forgotten the others.” -- Marquise de Sévigné
Food, like books, can sustain and celebrate life. But also like books, food can serve as an agent and expression for discipline, fear, hunger, and loss. This course explores both the joyful and the dark sides of eating and traces how “taste” informs the various ways in which we ingest the world. We will study how consumption and its rituals can be simultaneously quotidian and extraordinary. We will consider how the meeting of food and word (in novels, poems, plays, and the cinema) inform large social categories such as the nation, gender, race, ecology, internationalism, family, and, finally, the elusive yet endlessly seductive notion of sophistication.
With weekly topics such as “What Do Modernists Eat?,” “Women on the Edge”, “Lumps in My Throat,” “Parenting/Consuming”, “Ecology and Intimacy,” and more, we are bound to explore much which satisfies and challenges our appetites. We will undertake creative and intellectual projects toward the “writing of food” and end the course with a cook-off, to which we will invite the faculty and staff of the Department of English.