Hunger, Consumption and Identity in Elizabeth Gaskell´s Novels

Acta Universitatis Tamperensis No. 1721

By Pirjo Koivuvaara
July 2012
Tampere University Press
ISBN: 9789514487798
294 pages
$87.50 Paper original

The dissertation discusses the role and meaning of representations of hunger and the consumption of food and drink in Elizabeth Gaskell´s (1810-1865) five novels: Mary Barton (1848), North and South (1855), Sylvia´s Lovers (1863), Cranford (1853), and Wives and Daughters (1866). The central thesis is that in these novels, individual, social and cultural identities are constructed and reconstructed through the media of hunger, food, and drink. Hunger and consumption define social, cultural and national boundaries and identities are created and maintained through differences in consumption of food and drink. Food and foodways express different emotions, expectations and assumptions, and define and redefine communities and their inner hierarchies.

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