Dedication to Hunger: The Anorexic Aesthetic in Modern by Leslie Heywood

By Leslie Heywood

Writing as a aggressive athlete, a tutorial, and a lady, Leslie Heywood merges own historical past and scholarship to show the "anorexic common sense" that underlies Western excessive tradition. She maneuvers deftly around the terrain of recent literature, illustrating how this logic--the privileging of brain over physique, of demanding over smooth, of masculine over feminine--is on the middle of the modernist variety. Her argument levels 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 excessive modernism. In a compelling bankruptcy on Jean Rhys, Heywood portrays an writer who struggles to boost a fresh, spare, "anorexic" type in the middle of a shatteringly messy emotional existence. As Heywood issues out, scholars are educated within the aesthetic of excessive modernism, and teachers are confused into its straitjacket. The ensuing problems are mirrored in buildings as various as gender identification formation, sexual harassment, and consuming disorders.
Direct, enticing, and very proficient through the author's own involvement along with her topic, commitment to starvation deals a robust problem to cultural assumptions approximately language, gender, subjectivity, and id. Writing as a aggressive athlete, a tutorial, and a girl, Leslie Heywood merges own historical past and scholarship to reveal the "anorexic good judgment" that underlies Western excessive tradition. She maneuvers deftly around the terrain of recent literature, illustrating how this logic--the privileging of brain over physique, of not easy over delicate, of masculine over feminine--is on the middle of the modernist sort. Her argument levels 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 excessive modernism. In a compelling bankruptcy on Jean Rhys, Heywood portrays an writer who struggles to improve a fresh, spare, "anorexic" variety in the course of a shatteringly messy emotional lifestyles. As Heywood issues out, scholars are knowledgeable within the aesthetic of excessive modernism, and lecturers are burdened into its straitjacket. The ensuing issues are mirrored in constructions as assorted as gender id formation, sexual harassment, and consuming disorders.
Direct, enticing, and extremely educated by way of the author's own involvement together with her topic, commitment to starvation bargains a strong problem to cultural assumptions approximately language, gender, subjectivity, and id.

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Extra info for Dedication to Hunger: The Anorexic Aesthetic in Modern Culture

Sample text

The logic is circular, cyclic, and recyclic: burning, purgation, purification, vision, transformation, art. As art, literature is another failed attempt to kill certain parts. Literature tries to destroy what is seen as excess, unnecessary, le reste , the remainder. Much like the logic set out in the Platonic ladder, literature participates in a destruction that is seen as a means of attaining the absolute. Each failure provides the need for the remainder to be burned again. Here, in the anorexic impulses of literary modernism demonstrated by Kafka, that remainder is the body envisioned as consuming, material, dependent, feminine.

World . . " As Kafka writes to Felice on August 14, 1913, "I . . " [24] This insistence on literature as more than a raison d'etre as what he is actually "made of," refers to more than asceticism. Here asceticism, the voluntary discipline of the body, becomes anorexia, something one cannot help. Kafka "cannot be" anything other than an anorexic, because that is the means by which one can become "made of literature," rather than simply producing it. It is the incorporation or absorption of the writer into his text, a "becoming word" made possible by his status as an ― 77 ― anorexic, and by Felice's status as a nonanorexic who embodies the world Kafka defines himself against: "my worries about you and me are the worries of life, are part of the fabric of life, and for this reason would ultimately be compatible with my work at the office, but writing and office cannot be reconciled, since writing has its center of gravity in depth, whereas the office is on the surface of life" (279).

27] Yet literature is sometimes "evil" for Kafka, since it renders him incapable of living an ordinary life in the world. As he tells Felice: as soon as we lived together I would become a dangerous lunatic fit to be burned alive. The havoc I would create! Would have to create! And if I didn't create it I would be more lost than ever, for it would be against my nature, and whoever happened to be with me would be lost. You have no idea, Felice, what havoc literature creates inside certain heads.

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