- Purchase/rental options available:
This article examines the strange insistence of nineteenth-century critics on comparing Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh (1817) with exotic food. I trace this poetics of ingestion as something that the text stages. Ingestible things in Lalla Rookh blur the line between its Oriental characters and its Orientalist author, undercutting stable notions of cultural identity. I contextualize this literary strategy, which has been hitherto overlooked, within Britain’s increasing exposure to ingestible foreign substances: the narrative economy of Moore’s tropes mirrors the global circulation of exotic commodities and reproduces their breaching of identity categories. Moore’s self-reflexive representation complicates our understanding of how Orientalism constructs cultural otherness.