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Deviant Bodies and Eating Disorders in Ulrike Draesner’s Mitgift and Karen Duve’s Dies ist kein Liebeslied

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Teresa Ludden


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This chapter examines the representation of bodies and eating disorders in two German novels. The protagonist of Mitgift [Dowry] (2002) is anorexic while the narrator of Dies ist kein Liebeslied [This Is Not A Love-Song] (2000) is obese with a history of bulimia and self-harm. Both texts are read as radical representations of corporeality through their different modes of voicing the experiences of eating disorders from the point of view of the suffering body. Mitgift is linked to materialist feminist philosophy to interpret the paradox of the anorexic body as a pre-discursive body seemingly narrating itself and to the text’s philosophy of history. Lacanian theory is also used to highlight the alienation of a split subject and the treatment of relationality and hermaphroditism. Dies ist kein Liebeslied’s sadomasochistic aesthetic and parodic exaggeration techniques are linked to iterability to highlight a violently misogynistic culture. However, socio-critical tendencies are stymied through repetition of the very problems that are criticised - a paradox which finds expression in the representation of the bulimic, obese woman.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ludden T

Editor(s): Petra Bagley, Francesca Calamita and Kathryn Robson

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity

Year: 2017

Pages: 91-120

Print publication date: 30/10/2017

Acceptance date: 25/10/2017

Publisher: Peter Lang

Place Published: London, UK


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9783034322003