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Food Culture and Literary Imagination in Early Modern Italy

The Renaissance of Taste

Laura Giannetti

260 pages
Amsterdam University Press
As the long sixteenth century came to a close, new positive ideas of gusto/ taste opened a rich counter vision of food and taste where material practice, sensory perceptions and imagination contended with traditional social values, morality, and dietetic/medical discourse. Exploring the complex and evocative ways the early modern Italian culture of food was imagined in the literature of the time, Food Culture and the Literary Imagination in Early Modern Italy reveals that while a moral and disciplinary vision tried to control the discourse on food and eating in medical and dietetic treatises of the sixteenth century and prescriptive literature, a wide range of literary works contributed to a revolution in eating and taste. In the process long held visions of food and eating, as related to social order and hierarchy, medicine, sexuality and gender, religion and morality, pleasure and the senses, were questioned, tested and overturned, and eating and its pleasures would never be the same.
Author Bio
Laura Giannetti, University of Miami Emerita, Independent Scholar. She co-translated and edited with Guido Ruggiero Five Comedies from the Italian Renaissance (Johns Hopkins University Press) in 2003. In 2009 her monograph, Lelia's Kiss: Imagining Gender, Sex and Marriage in Italian Renaissance Comedy was published by Toronto University Press.