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Old Challenges and New Horizons in English and American Studies


Edited By Anna Walczuk and Wladyslaw Witalisz

The volume is a collection of essays representative of the wide focus of research encouraged and coordinated by the Polish Association for the Study of English (member of ESSE). Articles selected for the volume deal with works of poetry, drama and prose written in English and invite the reader to view them in the context of intercultural and intertextual discourse. Authors discussed in the articles include: John Redford, William Shakespeare, John Dryden, James Macpherson, John Clare, Anna Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, George Gordon Byron, Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, T.F. Powys, Patrick White, Brian Friel, Brendan Behan, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Chaim Potok, Ian McEwan, Kiran Desai, and Sarah Kane. In many of the essays the reader will notice a meta-discursive argument on the interplay between tradition and innovation in English studies.
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Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: “Such a Noble Meal”


Aleksandra Kędzierska

Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lublin

Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Bob Minzesheimer laments, has become one of those classics that happen to be more known than read; hence, sadly, even though very few people read the Carol anymore, everyone thinks they have (qtd in USA Today 12/17/2008), their ignorance perpetuating the myth that the novella is “the ultimate ode to consumption” (Slater), and that its hymns to the goose and pudding make it a gospel for gluttons. As if the only criticism of the “little book” they could relate to was the unfortunate sneer of John Ruskin who reduced Dickens’s Christmas to “mistletoe and pudding” (Mason 2007: 19), or Thackeray’s article reporting the “convulsions of hospitality” of Thomas Carlyle who, on reading the book sent out for a turkey, and asked two friends to dinner (Hearne 2004: xlix). Commented upon by its early reviewers, the sensual character of food as deployed in the Carol constitutes the ‘old horizon’ which this paper is going to challenge by way of demonstrating a spiritual dimension of such pivotal scenes of the novella as the Fezziwigs’ “domestic ball”, the Cratchits’ dinner and the party at Fred’s. It is hoped that while discussing the treatment of food in the episodes which constitute the focal points of the Carol’s festive plot the accusations and charges against intemperance and gluttony can be dismissed as biased, groundless, and quite unjustified.

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