Providing a unique perspective on a fascinating aspect of early modern culture, this volume focuses on the role of food and diet as represented in the works of a range of European authors, including Shakespeare, from the late medieval period to the mid seventeenth century. The volume is divided into several sections, the first of which is "Eating in Early Modern Europe"; contributors consider cultural formations and cultural contexts for early modern attitudes to food and diet, moving from the more general consideration of European and English manners to the particular consideration of historical attitudes toward specific foodstuffs. The second section is "Early Modern Cookbooks and Recipes," which takes readers into the kitchen and considers the development of the cultural artifact we now recognize as the cookbook, how early modern recipes might "work" today, and whether cookery books specifically aimed at women might have shaped domestic creativity. Part Three, "Food and Feeding in Early Modern Literature" offers analysis of the engagement with food and feeding in key literary European and English texts from the early sixteenth to the early seventeenth century: FranÃ§ois Rabelais's Quart livre, Shakespeare's plays, and seventeenth-century dramatic prologues. The essays included in this collection are international and interdisciplinary in their approach; they incorporate the perspectives of historians, cultural commentators, and literary critics who are leaders in the field of food and diet in early modern culture.
Joan Fitzpatrick (Lecturer, Loughborough University) is author of Food in Shakespeare (Ashgate, 2007) and a forthcoming Athlone dictionary entitled Shakespeare and the Language of Food.
'The literary food history in these books offers a slice of life.' Times Literary Supplement '...this collection of essays is a veritable feast for the early modernist, and its main contribution to scholarship is its revelation of the possibilities offered by sustained studies of this most basic of social, cultural signifiers.' Notes and Queries 'This collection is a welcome addition to the growing body of literary scholarship focusing on diet, cookery, and eating rituals. ... The volume contain[s] essays of potential interest to food historians and scholars of French literature, and Renaissance Food's recognition of the significance of interdisciplinary exchange and research is an important step towards furthering their pursuit. Indeed, the best essays herein draw attention to food's wide-ranging affinity with topics such as gender, economics, medicine, natural history, and nationhood.' Renaissance Quarterly '... the collection draws together a burgeoning area of interest,� written for scholars who are interested in ideas about early modern food and diet. It is, then, a signpost� work which pieces together the preliminary ideas and findings of research into this uncovered historiography.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'In sum, all the articles present here have their own distinctiveness and flavour, and virtually all are accompanied by extensive bibliographies, so the volume would be an excellent starting-point for further research.' International Committee on the History of Technology