Gourmand or Glutton? Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and Representations of the Corpulent in a Climate of Want

  • Rachael Newberry
Chapter

Abstract

Through a close engagement with William Thackeray’s creation Jos Sedley in Vanity Fair, Newberry considers the excessively consuming body as an alternative reflection of hunger that has most often been addressed through the Victorian female body. Whilst Jos epitomizes the corpulent, excessive Victorian (male) body, his appetite belies a profound alienation from human connection and the surrounding social body that is as much a self-obliterating endeavour as the act of starvation. Furthermore, through his role as colonial nabob, individual habits of gluttony place into relief larger social patterns of consumption, notably imperialist consumption of colonial resources. Jos’s overfed body (literally) figures the ‘body politic’ of imperial Britain, thus illuminating facets of the consuming body as an authentic reflection of the (disordered) social body.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachael Newberry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Theater and PerformanceGoldsmiths College, University of LondonLondonUK

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