The past several years of supply chain shortages and panic buying have offered a stark reminder of just how reliant many of us in so-called “developed” countries are on global supply chains. Such a realization might feel new—or at least newly urgent—to anyone who could not find legumes for the first six months of the pandemic, to say nothing of those who are still rationing infant formula. Reading Jessica Martell’s Farm to Form: Modernist Literature and Ecologies of Food in the British Empire offered me a well-timed reminder that these recent shortages are connected to a much longer history of global food chains. The book “presents the food history of the late British empire as an extended rehearsal for our era of industrial food supremacy,” in which imperial foodways have been replaced by “today’s multinational food corporations” (p. 3). Farm to Form focuses on modernist (or modernist-adjacent) novels, and how...

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