Course Description

Course Name

The Literature of Food

Session: VLNS3421

Hours & Credits

20 UK Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Assessment: coursework (5000 words)
Do you read cook books for fun? Are you fascinated by the descriptions of food and eating in novels? This module will examine a wide range of writing about food ? from cook books through novels, food journalism, poetry and culinary memoirs. We will address issues including the symbolic import of food in fiction and poetry; the formal structures of cookery books; the history of food from the early nineteenth century to the present day; the social and cultural role played by food, its preparation and consumption; sex and violence in food writing; and the fantasies and fears writ large in the most apparently conventional of cook books. Writers and topics that will be covered include Eliza Acton, Mrs Beeton, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Christina Rossetti, food and war, the invention of the housewife, culinary refusals, feminism and cookery, Elizabeth David, M. F. K. Fisher, Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood (The Edible Woman), Norah Ephron (Heartburn) and Nigel Slater (Toast). A trip to the Imperial War Museum will form part of the module, and the final session will involve students bringing their own choice of cook books for the group to discuss.

*Course content subject to change