Eating, Drinking and Re-Thinking: Marguerite Duras's Moderato cantabile (1958)

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Re-thinking food, drink and appetite offers new ways of exploring subjectivity,
self–Other relations and textual production. Like language, food and drink are
human necessities which always carry surcharges of meaning. Moreover, there
is an untapped convergence of theoretical approaches related to appetite. This
article draws on a range: structuralist (Barthes and Le´vi-Strauss); post-Marxist
(Bourdieu); feminist (Beauvoir and Cixous); post-Freudian (Lacan); poststructuralist
(Derrida), and socio-anthropological (Fischler). It explores their potential
by analysing representations of food and drink in Duras’s Moderato cantabile.
Stimulating critical appetites anew, surprising leftovers of realism are identified,
and new readings of the novel reveal class and gender constructs. The discussion
then examines how the appetitive is intertwined with tensions bound up
in desire, lack and repressed trauma as well as the incorporation of food and
drink, in turn elucidating the anxieties and ambivalence inherent in the constitution
of the self, power relations and representational practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


  • food
  • drink
  • incorporation
  • Beauvoir, Simone de;
  • Barthes, Roland;
  • Bourdieu, Pierre
  • Derrida, Jacques
  • Duras, Marguerite
  • Lacan, Jacques
  • Moderato cantabile

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