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Gastro-modernismFood, Literature, Culture$
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Derek Gladwin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954682

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781942954682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 11 April 2021

Against Culinary Art

Against Culinary Art

Mina Loy and the Modernist Starving Artist

(p.83) Chapter Five Against Culinary Art

Alys Moody

Liverpool University Press

The starving artist is one of modernism’s most recognizable figures and a central feature of the period’s self-mythologization. This chapter investigates the history of this figure from the perspective of modernism’s conflicted relationship to food. Ultimately, it argues that the starving artist uses the abstention from food to dramatize the uncomfortable articulation between modernism as a social phenomenon, marked by the development of an autonomous literary field, and modernism’s characteristic aesthetic positions. In order to develop this argument, this chapter first traces a genealogy of the rejection of so-called “culinary art,” from Kant and post-Kantian aesthetic philosophy to many of the key aesthetic thinkers of modernism. It then argues that the modernist starving artist emerges as the figure who embodies the modernist opposition to culinary art. Finally, it suggests that Mina Loy’s novel Insel offers a sustained critique of the modernist starving artist that moves fluidly between an understanding of its social and aesthetic dimensions and that seeks to offer a feminist revision of this exclusively male figure.

Keywords:   Mina Loy, culinary, art, Bloomsbury, autonomy, masculinity, mass culture, starving

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