Aliquid Decoctius : culinary metaphors in Persius' Saturae

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Title: Aliquid Decoctius : culinary metaphors in Persius' Saturae
Author: Bannard, Mary Frances
Type: Thesis
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: Although Persius tackles a variety of themes in his six satires – the contemporary literary climate, religion, overindulgence, self-knowledge, and self-sufficiency – a culinary thread runs through all of them and serves to anchor the corpus as a whole. For Persius, the connections between food, the body, and the mind are inseparable, and thus throughout his satires the language of food and cooking often points directly to his purpose in that particular poem. By looking closely at repeated culinary metaphors in several different satires, we will come to see how Persius exploits the language of food, cooking, and the body both to convey the objective of particular satires and also to call attention to the complex and often contradictory nature of the genre in which he is writing. Regardless of the topic at hand, cooking in Persius is hardly a benign domestic activity; rather, the language of cooking and digestion that he uses often reflects violence and is consistently taken to extremes. The effects of food and cooking on the body are similarly taken to extremes and are often grotesque. Persius sees bodily excess everywhere: the world around him is fat, bloated, and swollen. Therefore, instead of using these culinary references haphazardly, as Emily Gowers suggests in The Loaded Table, I will argue that Persius places them carefully throughout his collection, using them to highlight the contradictions ever-present not only in his poetry, but also in the society around him.
Subject: Cooking in literature
Subject: Metaphor in literature
Subject: Persius
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Bannard, Mary Frances. "Aliquid Decoctius : culinary metaphors in Persius' Saturae". 2011. Available electronically from

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