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Shakespeare and Food

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr Joan Fitzpatrick (Loughborough University) explores the role of food in Shakespeare’s plays, considering how contemporary understandings of food and diet play into the representation of food on Shakespeare’s stage. We begin with a broad overview of ideas around food in Shakespeare’s England, looking at dietaries and common understandings about the relative health of meat, vegetables, fish and ale. In the second module, we look specifically at the role of food in Hamlet, thinking about how food is linked both to sin and to the contemplation of one’s own mortality. Next, we consider the interaction between food, femininity and domesticity in Macbeth. In the fourth module, we analyse how food contributes to Leontes’ jealousy in The Winter’s Tale. Finally, in the fifth, we look at how food plays into the notion of barbarism versus culture, a main theme in The Tempest.

About the Lecturer

Dr Joan Fitzpatrick is Senior Lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research focuses on early modern literature and the intersection of literature and culinary studies. She published the first monograph on this intersection as seen in Shakespeare’s works, titled Shakespeare and Food (2007). She has recently published two more books on the subject, Three Sixteenth-Century Dietaries (2017) and A History of Food in Literature (2017).