The Poetics of Spice

The Poetics of Spice : Romantic Consumerism and the Exotic

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This 2000 book considers the literary and cultural significance of spice, and the spice trade, in Romantic literature, shedding new light on the impact of consumerism and capitalist ideology on writers of the period. Timothy Morton demonstrates how the emerging consumer culture was characterized by an ornate, figuratively rich mode of representation which he describes as 'the poetics of spice'. This is the focal point for a probing analysis that addresses a host of related themes - exoticism, orientalism, colonialism, the slave trade, race and gender issues, and, above all, capitalism. Employing a mixture of Marxist, deconstructive and psychoanalytic theory, Morton explores how capitalist ideology was inscribed in the very materials of consumption. The book takes a wide historical perspective, surveying a range of literary, political, medical, travel, trade and philosophical texts, and includes readings of Milton, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Leigh Hunt, Charlotte Smith and Southey among many others.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 300 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 24mm | 480.81g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 17 b/w illus.
  • 0521026660
  • 9780521026666
  • 1,037,753

Review quote

'Only one word describes Timothy Morton's The Poetics of Spice: Spicy. Like an exotic dish this book is both enticing and overwhelming.' BARS Bulletin

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Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The confection of spice: historical and theoretical considerations; 2. Trade winds; 3. Place settings; 4. Blood sugar; 5. Sound and scents: further investigations of space; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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About Timothy Morton

Timothy Morton is Professor of English at Rice University, Houston.

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