Every word counts

Talk Online | Learn Live: Food in 19th-century Literature

Online | Learn Live: Food in 19th-century Literature


Tasty treats from classic literature

From the Rebecca Sharp’s first encountering of a chilli in William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, to Ebenezer Scrooge’s gift of a Christmas goose in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, to the inedible porridge in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, nineteenth century literature abounds with mentions of food both mouth-watering and mortifying.

In this 90-minute course, we will concern ourselves mainly with realist texts from the English canon, with the detailed banalities of everyday life expressed so vividly on the page. Taking Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South as our central text, we’ll explore the ways in which food tells stories of class, character, time, and place. While the class will centre the experience of reading fiction, there will also be an opportunity for you to draft and interrogate your own non-fiction food writing.

No previous knowledge or experience is required, though you will be asked to bring along your favourite examples of detailed, visceral, delicious food writing in 19th century fiction. You will be provided with a pre-course reading pack and signposted to additional online resources, both at the British Library, and beyond.

This event will have live subtitles provided by Stagetext, delivered by MyClearText.

Event details

Wed 22 Sep 2021, 5:30pm

Live subtitles (remote) by Stagetext

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Venue details

British Library
The Arts Council
The Arts Council
The Arts Council