Trim: 6⅜ x 9¼
978-0-7591-2094-5 • Hardback • June 2012 • $115.00 • (£88.00)
978-0-7591-2096-9 • eBook • June 2012 • $109.00 • (£84.00)
Mark McWilliams is an associate professor of English at the United States Naval Academy. The author of The Story behind the Dish: Classic American Foods, McWilliams also serves as the editor of the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery.
Chapter 1Old Food in a New Land
Chapter 2Wholesome Food for a Wholesome People
Chapter 3Revolution in the Kitchen
Chapter 4 Good Women Bake Good Biscuits
Chapter 5Dining Out in the Novel
Chapter 6Eating Nostalgia
Afterword:Food and the Novel in America
About the Author
McWilliams's Food and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century America is a delightful must-read for anyone interested in food history or American literature. It is thoroughly researched and every page brims with valuable insights and surprising connections.
— Andrew F. Smith, culinary historian
Why was food so crucial in the 1840 election? Mark McWilliams's engaging book shows how nineteenth-century American foodways reflect contrary desires for simplicity and sophistication—the frontier vs. France. Novels and guidebooks helped readers manage anxieties about what good Americans should eat. Ranging widely from White House dinners to Gilded Age restaurants and new technology, McWilliams shows how class, gender, and regional issues shape the changing meanings of republican simplicity.
— David Leverenz, University of Florida
McWilliams's book joins a small but growing literature on food studies by American literature scholars who meld literary criticism, foodways research, and cultural history. McWilliams argues that treatments of food in the 19th-century novel reflect an ongoing tension between the ideals of republican simplicity and the growing cosmopolitanism of an increasingly industrialized, urbanized country. By interweaving his discussion of literary texts with extensive research on culture and foodways, he creates a rich tapestry of American life in the 19th century, both real and as depicted in fiction. The book tracks novelistic celebrations of simple, native, and frontier foods in the formative years of the Republic; the impact of the rise of scientific cooking on the novel; and treatments of food in late-19th-century novels in which luxurious food, and especially food eaten out, paradoxically becomes both a coveted marker of wealth and a sign of American decadence. The author's incorporation of numerous quotations … infuses the strong and pleasurable flavor of the original texts. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.
— Choice Reviews