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Mapping the Tasteland

Explorations in Food and Wine in Argentinean and European Culture


Matias Bruera

This book draws together the results of extensive research into the complex relationships that some modern European and Argentinean writers have enjoyed with food and wine. The European writers considered include Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Italo Svevo, Marcel Schwob, James Joyce and Robert Louis Stevenson; their Argentinean counterparts include Domingo F. Sarmiento, Lucio V. Mansilla, Roberto J. Payró and Ezequiel Martínez Estrada. Through an exploration of both fiction and non-fiction, the author shows how these thinkers’ ideas about food and wine influenced modernity and how they continue to influence contemporary issues such as ‘globalized’ menus and food poverty.


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Every book is a narcotic that feeds the ego. It falsely stimulates the distinc- tion of a person whose name appears in print in conjunction with a biog- raphy bound to the more obvious records or curriculum vitae. Mapping the Tasteland is the fruit of the generosity and the encouragement of a cluster of friends, colleagues and family members, without whom it really would not have been possible. I want to thank in particular: my partner María Bagnat for making me understand what I have been and what I can be; Claudio Canaparo for his dedication and his fraternal support; David Gorman for his patience and passion in the transmission of ideas; Marcelo G. Burello for his intelligence and generosity; Rodolfo Hamawi for his sincere af fection and support; Nicolás Casullo (in memoriam), Ricardo Forster and Alejandro Kaufman for their constant presence and friendship; and last, but not least, Myrna and Jorge.

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