Chapter

Eating people and the alimentary logic of <i>Richard Cœur de Lion</i>

Nicola McDonald

in Pulp Fictions of Medieval England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780719063183
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700563 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719063183.003.0007
Eating people and the alimentary logic of Richard Cœur de Lion

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Western culture has always treated the eating of human flesh as taboo. Reluctant or not, cannibals evoke fear, loathing or, at best, horrified pity. No fourteenth-century English cook is known to have prepared for consumption the flesh of a real Turk, yet the Turk's Head, a sweet-and- sour meat pie shaped and decorated to resemble the outlandish features of a stereotyped Saracen, was a familiar late medieval dish. Richard Coeur de Lion, a romance whose medieval popularity is well attested, arrests modern readers with the spectacle of its man-eating king. Duped into mistaking a cooked Saracen for pork, the ailing Richard devours a dish of boiled flesh, faster than his steward can carve, and gnaws on the bones.

Keywords: cannibalism; food; Western culture; Turk's head; medieval dish; Saracen

Chapter.  12311 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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