Scribes of Gastronomy: Representations of Food and Drink in Imperial Chinese Literature

ScribesThe culture of food and drink occupies a central role in the development of Chinese civilization, and the language of gastronomy has been a vital theme in literary productions through many different eras and genres. From stanzas on food and wine in the Book of Odes to the articulation of refined dining in The Dream of the Red Chamber and Su Shi’s literary recipe for attaining culinary perfection, lavish textual representations help explain the unique appeal of food and its overwhelming cultural significance within Chinese society. These eight essays offer a colorful tour of Chinese gourmands whose work exemplifies the interrelationships of social and literary history surrounding food, with careful explication of such topics as the importance of tea in poetry, “the morality of drunkenness”, and food’s role in the objectification of women in certain classic texts.

Isaac Yue is Assistant Professor of Chinese in the University of Hong Kong.

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