Gluttony by Francine Prose
(The Seven Deadly Sins)

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In America, notes acclaimed novelist Francine Prose, we are obsessed with food and diet. And what is this obsession with food except a struggle between sin and virtue, overeating and self-control--a struggle with the fierce temptations of gluttony.
In Gluttony, Francine Prose serves up a marvelous banquet of witty and engaging observations on this most delicious of deadly sins. She traces how our notions of gluttony have evolved along with our ideas about salvation and damnation, health and illness, life and death. Offering a lively smorgasbord that ranges from Augustine's Confessions and Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, to Petronius's Satyricon and Dante's Inferno, she shows that gluttony was in medieval times a deeply spiritual matter, but today we have transformed gluttony from a sin into an illness--it is the horrors of cholesterol and the perils of red meat that we demonize. Indeed, the modern take on gluttony is that we overeat out of compulsion, self-destructiveness, or to avoid intimacy and social contact. But gluttony, Prose reminds us, is also an affirmation of pleasure and of passion. She ends the book with a discussion of M.F.K. Fisher's idiosyncratic defense of one of the great heroes of gluttony, Diamond Jim Brady, whose stomach was six times normal size.
"The broad, shiny face of the glutton," Prose writes, "has been--and continues to be--the mirror in which we see ourselves, our hopes and fears, our darkest dreams and deepest desires." Never have we delved more deeply into this mirror than in this insightful and stimulating book.

About Francine Prose

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Francine Prose's many works include Blue Angel, The Lives of the Muses, Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles, and, most recently, the bestselling Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them . She is a contributing editor at Harper's and writes on art for The Wall Street Journal.
Published November 6, 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA. 128 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Greed by Phyllis Tickle 112pp, Oxford, £9.99 Lust by Simon Blackburn 166pp, Oxford, £9.99 Envy by Joseph Epstein 136pp, Oxford, £9.99 Gluttony by Francine Prose 128pp, Oxford, £9.99 The doom-mongers who claim we are living in an age of declining moral standards may be wrong, but it is no...

May 15 2004 | Read Full Review of Gluttony (The Seven Deadly Sins)

The Guardian

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gluttony, the Bard says, provokes the desire, but takes away the performance,' but it was drink the Bard considered to be the culprit : 'Drink, sir, is a provoker of three things ...

Dec 28 2003 | Read Full Review of Gluttony (The Seven Deadly Sins)

Publishers Weekly

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Thus, the religious culture that regards gluttony as a willful sin but must allow even sinners to eat;

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