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Deipnomachy, or Cooking with Zola

LAWRENCE R. SCHEHR
Nineteenth-Century French Studies
Vol. 34, No. 3/4 (SPRING SUMMER 2006), pp. 338-354
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23537656
Page Count: 17
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Deipnomachy, or Cooking with Zola
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Abstract

Émile Zola's Germinal presents a struggle between the rich and the poor figured rhetorically in part by a focus on food. The food of the poor, when it exists, can be stretched out so far that the nutritional value is lost. When there is an abundance of food, such as at the ducasse, its excess is not a bounty but a detraction. Maigrat's death moves the motif of the cuisine du pauvre into the realm of the unspeakable and inedible. Zola presents a poetics of the cuisine du pauvre structured around emptiness and hunger, rather than fulfillment.

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