Making a Man : Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel, by Hyman, Gwen
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- ISBN: 9780821418543 | 0821418548
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 5/12/2009
Gruel and truffles, wine and gin, opium and cocaine.Making a Man: Gentlemanly Appetites in the Nineteenth-Century British Noveladdresses consumption of food, drink, and drugs in the conspicuously consuming nineteenth century in order to explore the question of what, in fact, makes a man in novels of the period. Gwen Hyman analyzes the rituals of dining room, drawing room, opium den, and cocaine lab, and the ways in which these alimentary behaviors make, unmake, and remake the gentlemanly body. The gentleman,Making a Manargues, is a dangerous alimental force. Threatened with placelessness, he seeks to locate and mark himself through his feasting and fasting. But in doing so, he inevitably threatens to starve, to subsume, to swallow the community around him. The gentleman is at once fundamental and fundamentally threatening to the health of the nation: his alimental monstrousness constitutes the nightmare of the periodrs"s striving, anxious, alimentally fraught middle class. Making a Manmakes use of food history and theory, literary criticism, anthropology, gender theory, economics, and social criticism to read gentlemanly consumers from Mr. Woodhouse, the gruel-eater in Jane Austenrs"s Emma, through the vampire and the men who hunt him in Bram Stokerrs"s Dracula. Hyman argues that appetite is a crucial means of casting light on the elusive identity of the gentleman, a figure who is the embodiment of power and yet is hardly embodied in Victorian literature.