Dedication to Hunger

Dedication to Hunger

The Anorexic Aesthetic in Modern Culture

eBook - 1996
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University of California Press
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 logicthe privileging of mind over body, of hard over soft, of masculine over feminineis 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.


Blackwell North Amer
In this passionate merging of personal history and scholarship, Leslie Heywood reveals the "anorexic logic" central to Western high culture. This logic privileges mind over body, masculine over feminine, individual over collective, control over emotion, and a realm of transcendence over the haphazardness of daily life. As clinical studies of anorexia show, this is the very logic adopted by millions of young American women today, to devastating effect.
In literature this anorexic logic is embodied in high modernism, as Heywood shows in discussions of Kafka, Pound, Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Conrad. In a compelling chapter on Jean Rhys, Heywood reveals an author struggling 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.
As Heywood reveals in an analysis of Nike ads and in a startling discussion of female bodybuilding, under the guise of individualism and self-determination the anorexic aesthetic confronts us every day in contemporary consumer culture.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California, c1996
ISBN: 9780585041094
0585041091
0520201175
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xvi, 243 p.)

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