Table Talk: Perspectives on Food in Medieval Italian Literature

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This volume is comprised of a selection of revised and expanded papers presented at ‘Table Talk: Perspectives on Food in Medieval Italian Literature,’ a panel held at the 40th annual convention of the Northeast Modern Langauge Association (Boston, February 26 March 1, 2009). Taken together, these essays explore the multifaceted role of food within medieval Italian culture through a variety of literary genres, from the poetry and prose of Dante and Boccaccio to the medical and religious writings of Michele Savonarola and Catherine of Siena. By examining the complexity of food consumption and distribution in the late medieval cultural imagination, the authors seek to advance the recent movement of food studies from the margins of social history to a fertile cross-section of the humanities and social sciences. The four sections into which the work is divided reflect the medical, religious, social and political circumstances that placed Italy at the vanguard of late medieval Europe s dynamic foodways. In embracing the interdisciplinary that distinguishes food studies as an area of scholarly interest, the essays collected in this volume aim to stimulate further inquiry into the fertile field of food in medieval Italian literature.

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