Reading & Composition
Consumption: Circulation and Excess
In fiction and theory as in reality, it is impossible to really escape notions of eating. Whether characters gather around a table in a realist text, whether representations of forbidden fruit appear and subvert themselves in symbolic texts, or whether a text turns its eye to the “consumption” of language itself, eating and being eaten are as quietly omnipresent in writing as they are in our own lives.
This class turns its attention to eating, whether literal, figurative, or in uncanny combination. What does it mean to eat? Is eating itself as strictly defined, or even as normal, as we might think it is? What about eating makes it so often transgressive, excessive, dangerous, or strange? What about the culture of eating makes it so often comforting, meaningful, and rich? Is eating only about the eater and the eaten, or is it inseparable from economies of production, circulation, access, and power? The texts in this class will offer different answers to these questions, in turn mystifying and demystifying the power of consumption.