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By Sarah Sceats

This learn explores the delicate and intricate importance of nutrition and consuming within the fiction of up to date ladies writers. Sarah Sceats' energetic research demonstrates that nutrition and its intake should not easily basic to existence yet are inseparable from questions of gender, energy and regulate. targeting the paintings of Doris Lessing, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Mich?le Roberts and Alice Thomas Ellis, she makes robust connections among nutrition and love, motherhood, sexual wish, self id and social habit, and engages with matters as assorted as cannibalism and consuming problems.

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Sample text

She licked her lips, letting her pink tongue-tip linger. ‘Mmmm . ’ (–) From the first ‘slow, voluptuous strokes’ through to the moaning and liplicking, the whole scene suggests a displaced copulation, to which the teasing winks and coy exclamations are invitations. Reminders of Saskia’s sadistic potential are included, in the (also sexual) running of her finger up and down the knife, in the recalling of her ‘run[ning] amok’ with the cake knife at her twenty-first birthday lunch and in the singeing of the hare flesh.

18 Since Carter is presumably not simply portraying two isolated megalomaniac individuals, she is shaping her narratives to comment upon precisely this ‘modern sensibility’, a sensibility she clearly represents as cannibalistic in its indications. Cannibalism and Carter: fantasies of omnipotence  Self-perpetuating appetite and monstrous egocentricity go hand in hand, the insatiability of the appetite itself being the product of a relentless and unsupported ego. Framed slightly differently, self-perpetuating appetite (consumer desire for goods and services perhaps) and a potentially monstrous self-serving group (or corporation or market) easily become a metaphor for political cannibalism, the unsupported ego representing an absence of worth or value.

When she returns from the disastrous encounter with Buzz she is desperately determined to seduce and possess her husband and attacks him with vampiric fervour. Although this confirms a sexual connection between all three characters, it is not a completion, but a ‘mutual rape’; Lee can only experience Annabel as a sexually predatory diablesse or succubus, wearily wishing her dead so that he can be released from caring. While in the mental hospital Annabel tells the psychiatrist that she has eaten her wedding ring, Lee tells the Fool in the park that she also tried to eat him alive.

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