Savoring Power, Consuming the Times
The Metaphors of Food in Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Notre Dame Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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“If you observe well, you will see that, from one age to another, there is a change not only in men’s speech, vocabulary, dress, style of building, culture and such things, but, what is more, even in their sense of taste.A food that was highly prized in one age will often be found far less appetizing in another.”1 Thus Francesco Guicciardini in his...
Chapter 1: The Language of Food in Boccaccio’s Decameron
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The prominent place that food occupies in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron encapsulates the essence of two mutually exclusive worlds: the world of the powerful, who have access to it, and the world of the powerless, who do not. In the representation of the stronger and the weaker, of the empowered and the disempowered, created on the basis...
Chapter 2: Of Frogs, Giants, and the Court: Pulci’s Morgante
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There is little doubt that in the Decameron Giovanni Boccaccio uses scarcity, abundance, quality, and variety of food to explore the hidden folds of the human condition. By turning his attention to the foods that the wealthy, privileged, and hermits consume, he draws attention to the disquieting effects that anachronistic codes have in regulating...
Chapter 3: Banquets of Power: Boiardo's Innamorato and the Politics of Gastronomy
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As we have seen in the previous chapters, power shapes people’s social and political consciousness and, although it rarely reflects a consciousness of self, it is ever mindful of the privileged modes to which it is entitled. In Giovanni Boccaccio and Luigi Pulci, it is displayed through...
Chapter 4: Meals, Transformations, and the Belly of History: Ariosto’s Furioso
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In the previous chapter I showed how Matteo Maria Boiardo relies on the politics of gastronomy to reveal the more hidden political, social, and cultural folds of his society. In this chapter I explore Ludovico Ariosto’s use of food as a way to analyze in a more organic manner the sociocultural currents of his times. In canto 7 of the...
Chapter 5: Courtesans and Figs, Art and Nature in Aretino’s Ragionamento
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Food holds a special place in Pietro Aretino’s Ragionamento because it amplifies the tension between power and morality, both of which are indispensible means to ensuring a stable, principled society. With radical aplomb and escalating intensity, through food the writer illustrates the imbalance of power that exists in Roman society. He also...
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Analyzing food within the context of the semiotic system, Roland Barthes asserts that what one eats is not just a series of ingredients and products. To the contrary, he argues that food is “a system of communication, a body of images,” a defined—and, one could add, frequently a refined—“protocol of uses, situations, and behaviors.”1 Based on this,...
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About the Author, Back Cover
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Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2013