This article addresses the deviations between the authorial figure of M.F.K. Fisher and the woman who crafted her, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher. It considers M.F.K. Fisher's reputation as a figure in food studies and explores the potentially problematic implications of the overwhelmingly celebratory response to Fisher's metaphorical approach to food writing in her memoir, The Gastronomical Me. By considering Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher's complicated, often negative relationship with food, as highlighted in her journal entries and interviews, the author argues that The Gastronomical Me presents a disembodied protagonist who sidesteps corporeal and gender-specific implications of the sensory-driven, unapologetic eating she promotes. Considering the genre of life writing, the historical context in which the text was published, and Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher's background, this article calls for The Gastronomical Me's treatment as an imaginative recreation of lived experiences (one that could more accurately be named The Gastronomical She), rather than a fact-based example of life writing. Viewing the memoir in this manner allows readers to distinguish M.F.K. Fisher more clearly as a fictionalized version of Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, an outlet for which metaphorical views of hunger and consumption afforded Mary Frances space to escape from cultural pressures and personal struggles with her body.
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Research Article| August 01 2019
The Gastronomical “She”: Narrating (Dis)Embodiment in M.F.K. Fisher's Memoir
Victoria Burns is a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of Iowa. She studies contemporary American literature, with an emphasis on life writing, embodiment, and gender.
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Gastronomica (2019) 19 (3): 67–77.
Victoria Burns; The Gastronomical “She”: Narrating (Dis)Embodiment in M.F.K. Fisher's Memoir. Gastronomica 1 August 2019; 19 (3): 67–77. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2019.19.3.67
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