Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilQui sommes-nous?AnnoncesShakespeare et les arts de la table

Shakespeare et les arts de la table

Programme du Congrès 2011 de la Société Française Shakespeare


Haut de page

Vous pouvez télécharger en bas de cette page une version imprimable du programme, ainsi que l’affiche au format A3.

Jeudi 17 mars 2011

Après-midi (auditorium de l’INHA)

Président de séance :  Gil Delannoi

14h : Anita Bhela, University of Delhi :
Culinary metaphors in Shakespeare’s Othello, As you Like It and Timon of Athens

Abstract : Agriculture was the most important industry in the Elizabethan economy and Shakespeare’s plays abound in similes and metaphors taken from the world of agriculture and those related to cooking, eating and food. Love, desire, sexuality, foolishness and wit are often described in culinary terms. Othello thinks he is not in control of Desdemona’s appetite and he himself lacks the appetite for sex. Ripeness, unripeness, rawness, rottenness are descriptive terms that may apply to characters, situations, states of mind or approaches to situations. Additionally, there is an abundant transfer of terms used in cooking: cook, heat, roast, bake, grill, broil, and fry to human situations and characters. In the plays, banquets, feast and eating of meat define class and status: social class divisions are maintained in the Forest of Arden as Duke Senior and his lords enjoy a banquet of venison meat, which only the nobility could eat. Food can nourish, feed or poison and so can human beings - Iago’s malignancy poisons all. The culinary vocabulary works at innumerable levels to illuminate the plays: it is used to create humour; to elucidate character, and to reinforce the theme.  This use of non-intellectual but powerful and easily understood vocabulary of culinary words could be one reason for Shakespeare’s undisputed popularity in his own time. The similes and metaphors taken from the world of agriculture and those related to hunting, cooking, eating and food are easy to understand as they are taken from everyday life of the people and something to which both the groundlings and the gentry could relate. Food is a form of language that all share and understand. Therefore it gives all a common ground on which to express and share emotions and ideas. Food metaphors can present philosophy, logic, reason, life and its experiences in ordinary terms related to our daily lives. This paper makes an attempt to critically analyse the use of culinary metaphors used in Shakespeare’s Othello, As you Like It and Timon of Athens to show how they contribute to our understanding of the plays and to Shakespeare’s popularity.

14h30 : Johann Gregory, Cardiff University :
Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida: visualising expectations as a matter of taste

Abstract : W.R. Elton explains that Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida has “been estimated [to contain] twice as many images of food, cooking and related matters as in any other of its author’s works”. This may seem surprising, until we realise that the play utilises the language of food to create a poetics of expectation and taste. In the second act, Agamemnon says of Achilles:

                              all his virtues […]
Do in our eyes begin to lose their gloss,
Yea, like fair fruit in an unwholesome dish,
Are like to rot untasted.

The simile is part of a poetics that visualises spectatorship and expectation in culinary terms. Although Thersites’s performances are figured as a “cheese” to aid Achilles’ “digestion” that should be “served in to [his] table”, on the whole the drama is actually not consumed immediately by the audience. Rather, in a confusion of the senses, food becomes a visual metaphor for thinking an audience’s appetite for a play and other matters of taste. The audience is invited to watch Troilus and Cressida as a monster that eats up, in its mastic jaws, the notion of chivalry and “glorious deeds” that past versions of the story – in epic and romance – had been so keen to emphasise; it is these past traditions, the prologue promises, which “may be digested in a play”. The paper seeks to discover whether the play leaves us with “fragments, scraps, the bits, and greasy relics” of past literature, or if Shakespeare was cooking up something else.

15h : Discussion

15h30 : Pause

Président de séance :  Pierre Kapitaniak

16h : Huey-Ling Lee, Chi Nan University, Taiwan :
Women, Male Bonding and the Arts of Table in The Taming of the Shrew

Abstract : If, as Henry Wotton writes in The Elements of Architecture (1624), “every mans proper Mansion House and Home [is] the Theater of His Hospitality,” the dining table then serves as the center stage, on which the host can dramatize his generosity, and thereby reveal his hegemony.  The success of such a social drama, however, depends not just on the ritualized behavior of the host and his guests, but also on the hostess’ performance of hospitality at the table.  Although the wife’s performative labor contributes primarily to the reputation of her husband, as far as she also gains status in the public arena as well as the private domain through the “mediated extension of patriarchal power,” her acts of hospitality have to be evaluated so that they redound not just to her husband’s reputation, but also to hers.  Ostensibly, having to reach out to all those sharing the meal, women’s behavior at table seem to transgress the three areas that surveillance of women concentrated upon — “the mouth, the chastity, the threshold of the house” — it is only so in a performative sense as long as it aims not to please themselves, but to facilitate the bonding between men.

As Felicity Heal points out, although the medieval commensality is marked by a distinctly masculine air, by the time of the early sixteenth century, “it is usual for the gentry to be entertained with their wives.”  The occasion of conviviality hence provides one of the few “public” ways for women to acquire honor and maintain reputation in the community, and the relations between men are also increasingly mediated by women.  Focusing on the two wedding meals in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, this paper suggests that whereas the couple’s withdrawal from the first signifies their alienated positions in Padua, the success of the second marks their successful assimilation into the community.  Without denying the coercion and submission required of Katherine, I argue that she is required to master the arts of female performance in the social arena of commensality not just to redeem herself from the stereotype of a shrew but to assimilate both her and her husband into the social world of Padua without compromising their status and autonomy.

16h30 : Arbaayah Ali Termizi, Nahid Shahbazi Moghadam et Faezeh Barghi Oliaee, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaisie :
The Grotesque about Food and Feasting in Anthony and Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew

Abstract : In Anthony and Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew, the theme of love is intertwined with food and feasting. Regardless of the political implications embedded in the first one, it shares an explicit portrayal of sensual and earthly love with the latter, which is paralleled in both plays with food as another physical aspect of man. Both plays are mainly ruled by excessive and inevitable physicality. However, this does not imply that the two works are closely following the same trend in their exploitation of sensuous love and feasting. In fact, certain differences regarding domineering gender roles and the degree of the harshness in the relationships are of interest to this study. These differences are interwoven with the theme of love, hence in connection with and elaborated in food and feasting as well.

This paper is to discuss the excesses of food and feasting in the two plays employing relevant viewpoints of the ‘grotesque’ as theorized by the critics in this area. Accordingly, Bakhtinian ‘grotesque realism’ and the concept of degradation related to bodily life are to be particularly highlighted in their association with food and feasting in these two works. The reversing of hierarchies is also to be dealt with, considering G. G. Harpham’s critique of Bakhtin’s view in this relation. The elaborate choice of a comedy and a tragedy serve to provide for the discussion in the two genres so as to point to similarities owing to the presence of the grotesque. Assumedly, such a comparison would be promising as well as illuminating since Bakhtinian analysis originally targeted comic, positive, and regenerative study of the grotesque. In this relation, the other eminent critic in this area, Wolfgang Kayser, will be taken into consideration for his studies of the grotesque from a negative and tragic outlook. It may be worth mentioning that the reason for the selection of these two particular plays among all Shakespearean tragedies and comedies has to do with their simultaneous manifestation of love and feasting from an essentially realistic and down-to-earth dimension.

17h : Discussion

17h30 : Thé aux extraits de Shakespeare par Lara Suyeux et Jean-Michel Déprats, infusé par Leila Adham

Soir : Théâtre les Gémeaux, Sceaux

20h45 : Othello, mise en scène Thomas Ostermeier

Les membres de la SFS bénéficient d’un tarif préférentiel.

Vendredi 18 mars 2011


Président de séance :  François Laroque

9h : Natalia Brzozowska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan :
Dangerous feasts and the social appetite in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Titus Andronicus

Abstract: Feasting has forever been known as the time of merrymaking, yet certain well-known banquets of Shakespeare’s plays seem to consciously break the stereotype. Sociology often terms feasts as time and place for the consolidation of personal ties, cementing social order and the generous displaying of status. A darker aspect of Shakespearean feasting will be taken into consideration, especially in the social dimension. In Macbeth, two feasts build up to an inevitable doom: the first functions as the background of the murder of Duncan, where hospitality is the base for control. To draw from history, Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572 shocked the Elizabethans beyond imagining because the murdered were wedding guests – here, in accordance to socio-anthropological hospitality rules, Duncan’s freely chosen role of ‘the guest’ (the role signifies positioning oneself in a more passive position of vulnerability), a celebratory nature of his visit and his murder are linked in a similar manner to horrify the audience. The second banquet, though thrown by the royal couple at the height of their popularity, already signifies a breakdown in the maintenance of expressive control (in Goffman’s terms, the front starts to disintegrate) and underlines Macbeth’s inability to cope with his roles, which function more as ascribed (bestowed upon him) than achieved. Titus Andronicus, while serving the hearts of Tamora’s sons, plays out a shocking parody of the traditional family feast.  The final banquet is bound to end in carnage. The metaphor of “playing the cook” will be analyzed through the methodology of role theory and Becker’s model of deviance. Feasts in those cases function as the juxtaposition of the usually attributed safe order and imminent danger. All three examples shall be analyzed through the scope of sociology, using role theory (from Linton through Goffman to the most recent takes on role-taking) selected modern theories of food and nutrition (a growing interest of the subject has been noted from the early Nineties), as well as the older theories of deviance (Becker, Sutherland, Znaniecki).

9h30 : Neslihan Ekmekçioğlu, Hacettepe University :
Banquet Scenes in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as a Space of Transgression and Torture

Abstract : Feasting in Europe during the Renaissance comprises a long and evolving tradition going back to pagan celebrations and Christian festivities. Michel Jeanneret in his study upon the Renaissance banquets states that the banquet has provided inspiration for  the imagination and has restored a mythic fulfillment which included the religious significance of the altar that emphasized unity with the Divine or God. Renaissance banquets usually include musical activities and dancing. Renaissance festivity  reveals a combined interest in music and food. In Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier , one of the important characters Pietro Bembo considers music a type of nourishment that leads the soul away from lustful or wordly thoughts. In Thomas More’s Utopia , the ideal city would have music played during evening suppers in order to help digestion. Music serves as a nexus to the spiritus mundi or celestial spheres. Banquets are influential social gatherings and activities during the Renaissance. The musical banquet indeed echoes the philosophical ‘Symposium’ of Plato. The Renaissance banquet is unique in its inclusion not only of  music and dancing but also of erudition such as philosophical conversations about the cosmos  and political talks about the ideal state. As music and dance stand for  ‘Concordia’ or ‘Harmonia’, the Renaissance banquet represents a deeper level of human interaction with  music and dancing. The social component of the banquet  encompasses not only eating to rejuvenate the body but also cultivating relationships between individual participants by contributing to the refinement process of the intellectually and spiritually sensitive person which symbolizes the ideal Renaissance  man according to Ficino. Thus the banquet in the Renaissance reinforces the act of learning social manners as well as spiritual elevation and grace. The banquet also displays the prince’s power as a monarch. The ideal banquet mirrors the human macrocosm and provides with music and dancing its own sort of ‘Concordia discors’. Within the Biblical context, the table also holds a special significance by drawing attention to the role of Christ as the Sacrificial Lamb as well as the philosophical instructor. Although the table or the banquet may signify unity and harmony, it might also signify exclusion. The festive table can become a table of torture or a space for transgression or a stage where appearance and reality are distorted within a mirror of deception. In Macbeth Shakespeare depicts two banquet scenes in which the bitter human reality is hidden behind false appearances or truth is revealed unexpectedly behind a scene of theatricality, while disturbing the subconscious. My paper will deal with the two banquet scenes in Macbeth as a space of transgression and torture where ‘the wine of life’ is lost.

10h : Discussion

10h30 : Pause

Président de séance :  Catherine Lisak

11h : Tobias Döring, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich :
Feasting and Forgetting: Sir Toby and the Lure of Lethe

Abstract : For most of its critical history, Twelfth Night has been considered in relation to the rites and customs of seasonal festivities which, as its title indicates, the comedy in many ways recalls. Yet through theatrical replaying of such festive elements, long criticised and actively suppressed in post-Reformation England, this play also evacuates them of the ritual significance they once embodied and makes them part of a commercial entertainment industry. This is especially pertinent for the persistent rites of mourning and remembering the dead, staged in the figure of Olivia, but upstaged through Sir Toby’s constant feasting. With reference to John Willis’s contemporary treatise on the arts of memory, my paper argues that the close connection between eating, drinking and digesting performed in this figure ultimately serves to constitute a mode of cultural discharge, i.e. of actively evacuating ancient monuments and redefining old religious memories for purposes of aesthetic pleasure. The arts of the table, indicated with Sir Toby’s constant drunkenness and “lethargy”, thus perform the crucial function of theatrical purgation for the politics of cultural forgetting.

11h30 : Jay Zysk, Brown University, Providence :
An Art Unlawful as Eating: Effacing Eucharistic Presence in The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest

Abstract : Shakespeare’s romances, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, both engage an enduring iconography of Eucharistic presence.  In the former play, Hermione’s statue is both incarnational and transformational in that it occasions flesh becoming stone becoming flesh, all at the utterance of Paulina’s words (“’Tis time; descend; be stone no more”, 5.3.99).  In the latter, the illusory banquet sent down by Ceres suggests aspects of communal feasting and celebration that suggests a relationship between secular eating staged in a theatre and sacred eating staged on the altar.  In this paper, I argue that both of these plays use eating as a metaphor for the dissolution of Eucharist in the wake of the Reformation.  Where critics like Andrew Moran and Phebe Jensen have turned to The Winter’s Tale in particular as evidence of Shakespeare’s endorsement of Catholic practices, I show how such a play actually dismantles notions of transubstantiation and divine presence by relegating such flesh-making miracles to the province of the theatre.  Drawing on both linguistic and theatrical evidence, as well as relevant Catholic and Protestant theological materials, I demonstrate how these two romances present Eucharistic eating as an unlawful art; indeed, they witness the movement from the real presence of the Mass to the illusionary presence of the masque.

12h : Discussion

12h30 : Déjeuner proposé sur place par Brigitte de Malau, artiste plasticienne, scénographe, cuisinière

(Réservation obligatoire avant le 5 mars. Le menu est disponible en ligne, sur le site de la SFS.)


Président de séance :  Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin

14h : Gilly Lehmann, Université de Franche-Comté :
At the dramatists’ table: the climax and decline of a Mannerist cuisine in England, 1580-1630

Abstract : Plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries “teem” with episodes which place gastronomy centre-stage: why? One of the reasons is that these playwrights were writing at a period when the fashionable culinary style reached its climax and began its decline, and was thus peculiarly appropriate as a vehicle for a simultaneous critique of culinary excess and moral turpitude. Such a critique is highly visible in the "city comedies" such as Massinger's The City Madam. (Similar links between the impending decline of a culinary style and increased use of culinary metaphor occur in the early eighteenth century, but here the vehicle is social and political satire in text and engraving rather than the stage.) This paper looks at the culinary style as revealed in the cookbooks of the period, using quantitative and qualitative methods, in order to define that style and to show its close links with the other arts, most notably painting, gardens and architecture. While the Mannerist style in England was somewhat apart from its Continental counterparts — and this is true of all the arts mentioned as well as the culinary — it was recognizably a part of the same movement. The difficulty with its culinary manifestation is to see how a style which is usually defined by its visual impact can also be experienced through its gustatory component; this is a field which has been little explored, and which challenges the historian to new forms of interpretation of data. The history of cookery as one of the arts remains to be written, but it will place cookery firmly within the wider discipline of history. Cookery as an art form has been treated recently, for the late Renaissance period, by Ken Albala in The Banquet (2007), but his analysis is devoted principally to Italy, and his pages on England are not entirely convincing. This paper takes up the problem again and offers a more rigorous analysis of the Mannerist phenomenon in England.

14h30 : Ken Albala, University of the Pacific, Stockton, Californie :
Shakespeare’s Culinary Aesthetic

Abstract : While much attention has been paid to the culinary and dietary metaphors in Shakespeare’s works, the culinary aesthetic with which he would have been familiar is less well known. In other words, what types of foods would a man of Shakespeare’s social standing and profession have eaten in the late 16th and early 17th century? How did the flavor profiles, ingredients and cooking techniques influence his frame of mind and what repertoire of dishes would he have been able to draw from when thinking about food? This paper will examine Tudor and Stuart cuisine, its basic structure and artistic values through comparison with other arts such as architecture, music and poetry. I will argue that the same aesthetic preoccupation with variety, polyphony, surprises and ingenious conceits dominate in each media, without however abandoning a certain fundamental straight-forwardness in regard to materials or ingredients. That is, when conjuring metaphors that directly relate to food or not, it was a distinctly Tudor and Stuart approach to art in general, largely influenced by the arts of the table, that steered Shakespeare toward the aesthetic choices he ultimately made.  

For example, if we compare structures such as the country houses of Robert Smythson, Longleat or Harwick Hall, with the madrigals of Morley, and the dishes that appear in the cookbooks of Dawson, Markham or the Huswife’s Handmaide for the Kitchen, we will find that the same aesthetic values of spontaneity, intricate decoration, historical references with unexpected twists are laid on top of what are solid forthright structures that are ultimately functional and in the case of cooking, fairly simple English dishes spiced up, as it were, with foreign imports. The Serlian strapwork decoration of Smythson is thus directly parallel to the sugar and spices of Dawson or the polyphony of Morley, yet they rest on foundations that are native English. The same, I will argue, can be said of Shakespeare’s metaphors.

15h : Discussion

15h30 : Pause

Président de séance : Jean-Michel Déprats

16h : Laurent Berger, Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3 :
Hamlet et l’art du travail à la table

Abstract : La mise en scène est un processus de création où nombre des hypothèses interprétatives qui alimentent le travail des comédiens sur leurs personnages sont souvent, contre toute logique culinaire, préparés à la table et servis au plateau.

Le travail à la table, effectué par le metteur en scène, le dramaturge et parfois les comédiens, consiste en une élaboration analytique de l’œuvre préalable à la répétition proprement dite et qui oriente celle-ci sans toutefois la circonscrire totalement. En étudiant les notes préparatoires des mises en scène de Hamlet par Benno Besson, Antoine Vitez, Patrice Chéreau ou John Caird, entre autres, et le développement ultérieur des répétitions, nous observons comment la conception initiale d’une mise en scène est digérée, approfondie et éventuellement réfutée pour produire le spectacle définitif. Le travail à la table imagine de multiples ingrédients (distribution, coupures, adaptations, postulats et partis pris) pour nourrir la fabrication de la mise en scène, mais celle-ci les adapte, les combine et les transforme en fonction des aléas de la répétition et de l’inspiration des artistes pour donner à la recette virtuelle une réalité charnelle. Ce sont ces mouvements entre table et plateau entre conception et réalisation de Hamlet que nous souhaitons explorer.

16h30 : David Goldstein, York University, Toronto :
Failures of eating in The Merchant of Venice

Abstract : The Merchant of Venice contains numerous references to meals—meals offered, accepted, rejected, missed, arrived at late, imagined, spurned in the strongest terms. Yet, strikingly, there is virtually no staged eating in the play, and consequently, almost no one has given any extended consideration to food or eating within it.(*) It seems to me no accident that food as a stage property is missing from the play, for eating in The Merchant—like Titus, Hamlet, or Troilus and Cressida, but unlike, say, As You Like It—is profoundly unredemptive, unconstructive, and unsustaining. Food does not nourish, or it does so at such cost that it is hardly worth the trouble. Nevertheless, people eat, as they must: here, as elsewhere in Shakespeare, the body and its terrible appetites demand to be assuaged. When people do eat—which is to say, when they talk about how they are going to eat, have eaten, wish they could eat, or wish they hadn’t eaten—they are almost always jockeying for position, indicating or dissolving alliances, or mocking the very possibility of alliances and the mutual sympathy that comes with them. Eating is almost always invoked aggressively, with bared teeth. The play is utterly permeated with eating, from the opening image of the wind cooling the “broth” of the sea, to the metaphor of manna raining from the proverbial skies of Portia’s generosity. The whole world of this play is potentially edible, at once offered to some and withheld to others. Of course, this means that its characters are also potentially edible, and therefore vulnerable. Between Portia’s spidery clutches and Shylock’s knife hangs suspended a world of eaters and eaten. Eating in The Merchant is not just a metaphor for religious stereotype, but the material site at which the play’s fundamental conflicts are rehearsed. Shakespeare creates a work in which at issue is a “pound of flesh,” interchangeable with that of mutton, goats, pork, or another human. The Merchant is a play about the reduction of humanity to matter, and about the potential for that matter to become consumed. It is about how eating unites and, more frequently, destroys.

(*) Exceptions include critics who discuss the implications of the play’s cannibalistic imagery; see especially Leslie A. Fiedler, The Stranger in Shakespeare (New York: Stein and Day, 1972), 109-111; James Shapiro, Shakespeare and the Jews (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 109-110; Kim Hall, “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Colonization and Miscegenation in The Merchant of Venice,” Renaissance Drama 23 (1992): 93-95. On Jewish cannibalism in Elizabethan drama, see Jacob Lopes Cardozo, The Contemporary Jew in the Elizabethan Drama (Amsterdam: H.J. Paris, 1925).

17h : Discussion

17h30 : Rencontre avec Michel Bataillon, accueilli par Jean-Michel Déprats

À l'occasion de la publication par Gallimard du Théâtre complet de Planchon: « L'importance et l'influence de Shakespeare sur Roger Planchon, metteur en scène et auteur dramatique »

18h30 : Projection de Shakespeare et Orson Welles, réalisé par Isidro Romero, 1974-75

Interview d’Orson Welles par Richard Marienstras, pour l'INA (ORTF), 55 minutes.

Soir : Théâtre MC 93, Bobigny

20h30 : La Nuit des rois, mise en scène Jean-Michel Rabeux

Les membres de la SFS bénéficient d’un tarif préférentiel.

Samedi 19 mars 2011


9h30 : Assemblée générale de la Société Française Shakespeare

L’ordre du jour est sur le site de la SFS.

12h : Déjeuner proposé sur place par Brigitte de Malau

(Réservation obligatoire avant le 5 mars.  Le menu est disponible en ligne, sur le site de la SFS.)


Président de séance :  Sarah Hatchuel

14h : Imke Pannen, Universität Bonn :
“I would not taste of such a banquet” – Ill-f(l)avoured consumption in The Bloody Banquet

Abstract : In an article on The Bloody Banquet, a play probably written by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker between 1600 and 1602 and printed for the first time in a quarto in 1639, Gary Tayler calls this revenge tragedy a display of “cozy domesticity and nauseating horror”.

The Bloody Banquet is dominated by food: the absence and presence of food and the idea of torturous feeding. In the tragedy, a young Queen is forced by her tyrant husband to eat the limbs of her lover, whom she has killed in her chamber to avoid suspicion of their illicit affair. Dominated by his jealousy, the husband orders the body to be butchered and the limbs to be hung up for public display. The Queen, confronted with the object of her former sexual appetite, “the flesh with a skull all bloody”, is then ordered to eat the remains of her lover as a cannibalistic punishment for her adultery.

As the death of further characters in the play through drinking poisoned wine confirms, the tragedy presents consumption of a nauseating domesticity and perverted table manners in various forms.

This paper would like to deliver a deeper insight to the inversion of the aesthetics of the table into a representation of a perverted, ill-f(l)avoured festive menu, thus similar to Titus Andronicus, and the transformation of a source of sensual pleasure, like the consumed affair, into a zone of, as Julia Gasper coins it, “transgression of certain boundaries of `good taste'”.

14h30 : Joanne Vine, Anglia Ruskin University :
Jonson’s stage: properties for drinking and eating in The Children of the Revels’ plays

Abstract : Jonson was infamously a bon vivant at the table.  He grew to 20 stone and was known to be a heavy drinker.  Jonson’s poetry mirrors his biography: in ‘Leges Conviviales’ Jonson describes the taverns with which he was so familiar, as well as the properties they should contain; he foregrounds the importance of ‘delight[ing] in excess’ that characterised his personal life; and argues that ‘good wine’ is essential. Paradoxically, as this paper will show, Jonson’s plays for The Children of the Revels demand few scenes of eating and drinking, which contrasts strongly with plays by his contemporaries writing for the same company.  

This paper will interrogate the lack of drinking and eating vessels in the plays Jonson wrote for The Children of the Revels – The Case is Altered, Cynthia’s Revels, Epicene and Poetaster.  I will build upon recent interest in the materiality of the stage from critics such as Natasha Korda, Andrew Gurr and Andrew Sofer, as well as those who examine the work of individual theatrical companies – like Lucy Munro, Scott McMillin and Sally-Beth MacLean – to offer a new view of Jonson’s attitude towards on-stage consumption.

This paper will examine the possible reasons for the absence of table properties and the implications that the lack of the conviviality and sociability associated with groups gathered to eat and drink together has on Jonson’s plays.

15h : Douglas Lanier, University of New Hampshire, Durham :
Ben and Will at Banquet:  Jacobean Revels and Humanist Spectacle in the 1610s

Abstract : As the statue of Hermione seemingly comes to life at the end of The Winter's Tale, an astonished Leontes declares “If this be magic, let me be an art / Lawful as eating.” His jarring metaphor of eating, along with its connections to the law and arts, has long attracted the attention and vexed the interpretive ingenuity of editors and commentators. This paper seeks to contextualize Leontes’s remark within controversies over the moral content and purpose of Jacobean court banqueting. Those controversies spring from changes in the nature of the court banquet, as it moves from a celebratory banquet plus plays during Queen Elizabeth’s late reign to an increasingly through-composed, thematically-coherent political and moral spectacle under the reign of King James and Queen Anne. Central to this reconception of the English court banquet is Ben Jonson, who more than any other English writer of the period sought to make court revels an instrument for articulating Humanist ideals about the relationship of bodily pleasure and virtue rather than it being an example, as it was for court critics, of excess, popishness, and sensuality, the very image of aristocratic lawlessness. Jonsonian masques often engage the challenge of recasting royal banquets in this fashion. Christmas His Masque (1616), for example, explicitly addresses the issue of eating by casting foodstuffs as characters and allowing them to make their own defenses; as its title suggests, Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618) is Jonson's ambitious attempt to offer a credo about the moral nature and effects of the Jacobean masque. “To Penshurst,” Jonson’s paean to the Sidney family (published in 1616 but written earlier), also seeks to redefine aristocratic banqueting in terms of a spectacle of natural sovereignty and virtue. All of these examples register a certain strain in their argument, acknowledging, however briefly, that the realities of bodily pleasure at aristocratic banquets did not quite match up with the moral spectacle Jonson envisioned. Even so, Jonson's defenses of masquing suggest that by the second decade of the seventeenth century the Jacobean aristocratic banquet had become a cultural site where the Humanist ideal of bodily pleasure working in concert with ethical ends had come under pressure.

As many critics have suggested, Shakespeare’s romances are much engaged with issues of politics and culture at the Jacobean court, and so his romances, I argue, also participate in the ongoing cultural conversation about Jacobean banqueting and its relationship to Humanist principles. The Tempest, for example, takes up this question in 3.3, when Alonso's party encounters the banquet laid out for them by Ariel, a sequence which offers in effect a critique of Jacobean banqueting, an “anti-banquet” designed for moral effect. This banquet is juxtaposed with Prospero’s wedding masque for Ferdinand and Miranda in the next scene, a masque which, though it features no image of eating, is nonetheless linked to the harvest and thus implicitly to sensual pleasures of eating to come. Like The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale offers an interrupted banquet, in the form of the wedding feast that Polixenes disrupts in 4.4. This interrupted banquet is juxtaposed with the moral spectacle of Hermoine’s “reanimation” in 5.3. Leontes’s cryptic reference to “eating” in this sequence, and his link of eating to the law and to art, suggests that Shakespeare is using this moment not just to offer a defense of his own performative art, but also to engage with the cultural debate about Jacobean banqueting as an image of Humanist ideals.

15h30 : Discussion

16h : Pause

16h30 : Eleonora Marino, accueillie par Catherine Treilhou-Balaudé

Salle Aby Warburg

18h : Cocktail de clôture



6, rue des Petits Champs 75002 Paris

ou 2, rue Vivienne 75002 Paris

Métro :

- ligne 3 : Bourse

- ligne 7, 14 : Pyramides

- ligne 1 : Palais royal/Musée du Louvre



  • CERR/CERCLL (Université de Picardie Jules Verne)

  • Langues, Textes, Arts et Cultures du Monde Anglophone, Prismes (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3)

  • Institut de Recherches en Etudes Théâtrales, IRET (EA 3959, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3)

  • Centre de Recherches Anglophones, CREA (EA 370, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)

  • Histoire des Arts et des Représentations, HAR (ANR et Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)

  • SAES

  • INHA

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search