Dedication to Hunger: The Anorexic Aesthetic in Modern Culture

Overview

Writing as a competitive athlete, an academic, and a woman, Leslie Heywood merges personal history and scholarship to expose the "anorexic logic" that underlies Western high culture. She maneuvers deftly across the terrain of modern literature, illustrating how this logic—the privileging of mind over body, of hard over soft, of masculine over feminine—is at the heart of the modernist style. Her argument ranges from Plato to women's bodybuilding, from Franz Kafka to Nike ads.


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Overview

Writing as a competitive athlete, an academic, and a woman, Leslie Heywood merges personal history and scholarship to expose the "anorexic logic" that underlies Western high culture. She maneuvers deftly across the terrain of modern literature, illustrating how this logic—the privileging of mind over body, of hard over soft, of masculine over feminine—is at the heart of the modernist style. Her argument ranges from Plato to women's bodybuilding, from Franz Kafka to Nike ads.


In penetrating examinations of Kafka, Pound, Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Conrad, Heywood demonstrates how the anorexic aesthetic is embodied in high modernism.
In a compelling chapter on Jean Rhys, Heywood portrays an author who struggles to develop a clean, spare, "anorexic" style in the midst of a shatteringly messy emotional life. As Heywood points out, students are trained in the aesthetic of high modernism, and academics are pressured into its straitjacket. The resulting complications are reflected in structures as diverse as gender identity formation, sexual harassment, and eating disorders.

Direct, engaging, and intensely informed by the author's personal involvement with her subject, Dedication to Hunger offers a powerful challenge to cultural assumptions about language, gender, subjectivity, and identity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520201170
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Heywood is Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York, Binghamton.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Clarice Got Her Gun: Tracking the Anorexic Horizon 1
2 From Female Disease to Textual Ideal, or What's Modernism Got to Do with It 60
3 "Should Be Out of It": Starving the Feminine in Joseph Conrad 111
4 Missing Persons: The Black of Hole of the Feminine in Jean Rhys 144
Notes 203
Index 239
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