Bowler, R ORCID: (2021) Comfort Food and Respectability Politics in Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem and Banjo: A Story Without a Plot. Modernism/Modernity. (In Press)

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This article examines two of Claude McKay’s novels, Home to Harlem (1928) and Banjo: A Story Without a Plot (1929) with relation to their characters’ complex and sometimes seemingly contradictory attitude to food cultures. McKay’s characters demonstrate an awareness that their food choices are political, whether that be in terms of how much they eat—the stigma associated with a certain stereotype of the gluttonous black subject—or what they eat—any food coded black, indigenous, or from the global South carries negative associations—and they make their choices accordingly. The lead characters in each novel, however, claim a radical and subversive pleasure in eating in the face of the imperative from respectability politics to exercise restraint. In his portrayal of a happy and healthy licentious black consumer, then, McKay is reclaiming a politics of pleasure from the terrain of black abjection.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 09:24
Last Modified: 07 May 2021 09:24

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