Advanced

Margarine, Mystery and Modernity : Margarine and Class in Literary Texts (1880-1945)

Turner, Ellen LU (2018) In Food, Culture and Society 21(4).
Abstract
Margarine represents the pinnacle of culinary modernity, but it also has deep-seated working-class undertones connected to its origin as a butter substitute to feed the masses. This paper employs close readings as a tool to explore references to margarine in literary texts, and to situate them within a broader cultural context. In the first section of the analysis margarine references are surveyed in order to demonstrate how the product contains a multitude of sometimes conflicting meanings. In the second part of the analysis two works of detective fiction are explored—Arthur Morrison’s “The Stolen Blenkinsop” (1908) and Dorothy L. Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise (1933)—which use margarine as a central plot device. It is argued that... (More)
Margarine represents the pinnacle of culinary modernity, but it also has deep-seated working-class undertones connected to its origin as a butter substitute to feed the masses. This paper employs close readings as a tool to explore references to margarine in literary texts, and to situate them within a broader cultural context. In the first section of the analysis margarine references are surveyed in order to demonstrate how the product contains a multitude of sometimes conflicting meanings. In the second part of the analysis two works of detective fiction are explored—Arthur Morrison’s “The Stolen Blenkinsop” (1908) and Dorothy L. Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise (1933)—which use margarine as a central plot device. It is argued that margarine is the foodstuff of modernity since it contains within it the conflicting impulses which characterize the modernist mentality. Margarine stands for the novel and the innovative. It stands for technology and progress. However, margarine also embodies certain modernist anxieties about the prevalence of mass culture and fear surrounding the dissolution of boundaries between the high and the low, the real and the fake. The harder it is to tell the difference between butter and its cheaper alternative, the greater the threat. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Margarine, modernism and modernity, food and literary studies, class
in
Food, Culture and Society
volume
21
issue
4
publisher
Bloomsbury publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85049020394
ISSN
1552-8014
DOI
10.1080/15528014.2018.1481674
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fc900508-8b13-4aa0-a008-c9034684a8a7
date added to LUP
2018-04-13 19:53:47
date last changed
2018-09-24 07:18:22
@article{fc900508-8b13-4aa0-a008-c9034684a8a7,
  abstract     = {Margarine represents the pinnacle of culinary modernity, but it also has deep-seated working-class undertones connected to its origin as a butter substitute to feed the masses. This paper employs close readings as a tool to explore references to margarine in literary texts, and to situate them within a broader cultural context. In the first section of the analysis margarine references are surveyed in order to demonstrate how the product contains a multitude of sometimes conflicting meanings. In the second part of the analysis two works of detective fiction are explored—Arthur Morrison’s “The Stolen Blenkinsop” (1908) and Dorothy L. Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise (1933)—which use margarine as a central plot device. It is argued that margarine is the foodstuff of modernity since it contains within it the conflicting impulses which characterize the modernist mentality. Margarine stands for the novel and the innovative. It stands for technology and progress. However, margarine also embodies certain modernist anxieties about the prevalence of mass culture and fear surrounding the dissolution of boundaries between the high and the low, the real and the fake. The harder it is to tell the difference between butter and its cheaper alternative, the greater the threat.},
  author       = {Turner, Ellen},
  issn         = {1552-8014},
  keyword      = {Margarine,modernism and modernity,food and literary studies,class},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {4},
  publisher    = {Bloomsbury publishing},
  series       = {Food, Culture and Society},
  title        = {Margarine, Mystery and Modernity : Margarine and Class in Literary Texts (1880-1945)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2018.1481674},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2018},
}