In early modern culture, eating and reading were entangled acts. Our dead metaphors (swallowed stories, overcooked narratives, digested information) are all that now remains of a rich interplay between text and food, in which every element of dining, from preparation to purgation, had its equivalent in the literary sphere. Following the advice of the poet George Herbert, this essay collection "looks to the mouth", unfolding the charged relationship between ingestion and expression in a wide variety of texts and contexts. With contributions from leading scholars in the field, Text, Food and the Early Modern Reader: Eating Words fills a significant gap in our understanding of early modern cultural history. Situated at the lively intersection between literary, historical and bibliographical studies, it opens new lines of dialogue between the study of material textuality and the history of the body.

chapter |16 pages


ByJason Scott-Warren, Andrew Zurcher

chapter 1|14 pages

Carving for knaves

ByJuliet Fleming

chapter 2|18 pages

Reading, writing and cooking

ByDeborah L. Krohn

chapter 3|20 pages

The kitchen in the printing house

ByHelen Smith

chapter 4|20 pages

‘To dream to eat Books’

Bibliophagy, bees and literary taste in early modern commonplace culture
ByElizabeth L. Swann

chapter 5|18 pages

Skelton and the macaronic book

ByRaphael Lyne

chapter 6|19 pages

Spenser’s vomit

Imitation, language, materiality
ByAndrew Zurcher

chapter 7|42 pages

The Diet of Words

random cloud-chambers
ByJason Scott-Warren, Andrew Zurcher

chapter 8|17 pages

Eating the book, or why we need to digest what we read 1

ByPeter Stallybrass