Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.

Keywords

Food, Drink, Decadence, Dining, Gastronomy

Abstract

This thesis explores the motif of gastronomy in Fitzgerald's critically undertreated second novel, The Beautiful and Damned. Within the discussion of the leisure class, Fitzgerald scholars often focus on Jay Gatsby's parties, but they seem to neglect Anthony Patch and company's fancy for food and drink in Ivy League supper clubs of Manhattan, vaudeville theaters, and houses of languor in Upstate New York. Building upon George J. Searles's article "The Symbolic Function of Food and Eating in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned," this thesis examines the meaning of Fitzgerald's pervasive "prandial allusions" and character psychology with regard to dining. Whereas Searles posits that Fitzgerald "employed depictions of food and eating as symbols of his characters' shallowness and frivolity" (14), this thesis explores the possibility that Anthony Patch craves "pleasant episodes" of dining and specific culinary combinations because he interprets them as the essence of social ritual and corporeal comfort. Because many critics hold that The Beautiful and Damned lacks coherence and sputters as a pre-Gatsby creation, this thesis suggests that the novel can be read as Anthony's quest to assert and cling to his own brand of decadence, which is tragically distinct from that of his wife Gloria's.

Share

COinS