Food as the Representation of Idyllic Landscape of Victorian World in the Novels by Thomas Hardy

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Abstract

The aim of the paper is to analyse the idea of cooking/eating in two novels by Thomas Hardy: Jude the Obscure and Tess d’Urbervilles. Both works present the idea of food as one of the major points of reference in human relationships. One of the aspects worth analysing is eating as one of the most crucial primary needs. Another one is family eating. The meetings are preceded by careful preparation of meals (e.g. Sunday preparations in Arabella’s house or cooking in the house of the Crick family). The food often becomes the major topic during these meetings, showing in this way the idyllic character of family eating: the looks of dining rooms and kitchens are essential as well as the possibility of talking to each other while eating. This idyllic space of collective eating (according to M. Bakhtin) can be frequently destroyed by social conventions; when Tess was rejected by society, she used to eat alone and did not take care of what she eats. Both novels explore the idea of food making it important for the creation of an idyll.

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