Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

English Language and Literatures

Sub-Department

English

First Advisor

David S Shields

Abstract

A table is an intersection, a crossroads, a convergence, a gathering. Imitating this spirit, my project explores the numerous ways the table has been set in American life and letters: from Herman Melville's reincarnated apple-tree table to dinners displaced by bodies on Eudora Welty's tables, from table expectations in nineteenth-century domestic manuals to deathway traditions repurposing those same tables, from cannibalistic inversions of the table to the communion table in Toni Morrison's Beloved. Life and death, food and body, consumption and communion - the table brings us to a place where object becomes symbol, where ordinary becomes extraordinary.

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