Eating her words

Sarah Moss

in Spilling the Beans

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780719076510
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702710 | DOI:
Eating her words

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This chapter, which focuses on the politics of commensality that can be found in Frances Burney's letters and fiction, shows that commensality in Burney's fiction means the coming together around the table, and is about the social coercion and enforcement of rules and obligations on hesitant individuals. It studies the image of the table as a place for (coded) interrogation and coercion, and considers the role of eating in Burney's performance and reporting of her public, authorial persona. The chapter also contrasts the detailed reportage of mouthfuls and recipes with her fictional heroines' constant lack of interest in sustenance or gastronomy.

Keywords: commensality; Frances Burney; social coercion; interrogation; authorial persona; role of eating; gastronomy

Chapter.  16576 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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