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"Life Wants Padding": Food, Eating, and Bodies in George Eliot's Novels

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Tess Stockslager

Tess Stockslager uses six of the novels of George Eliot(those that take place entirely in rural England),works from the field of psychology, the concepts of realism and sympathy, and a metaphor of liquidity from Thomas Carlyle to explore several ways … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Tess Stockslager
Publisher: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller
1 review about "Life Wants Padding": Food, Eating, and...

A Shadow of my former self

  • Dec 18, 2010
As I get older and see myself look heavier in the mirror, feel my energy and stamina diminish when I am working or playing, and struggle with broken-down parts (eyes, ears, muscles) that will never regain youthful acuity, I realize I will never be what I once was.   It is the elemental and inevitable decline of age toward final rest that is hard to accept.  

Failing to accept is what "Life Wants Padding" is about.  Tess Stockslager, appropriately enough given her name based on Hardy's virtuous heroine, is a specialist in Victorian literature, and in her master's thesis published here takes a close look at body images and acceptance in George Eliot's novels.  While this may seem an absurdly obscure topic (I haven't read any of Eliot's novels myself), Stockslager's study actually takes an interesting, relevant, and even modern look at how the "padding" we see in the mirror affects how we relate to (or avoid) others, how we share and accept sympathy, and how we reconcile our private and public images (that old man you see before you and that I see in the mirror is still 20 something on the inside, despite the aches and pains I feel getting out of my bed or my recliner).   In her introduction, the author also touches on sources more widely known (Dickens) and more modern ("The Biggest Loser" television series) to make the topic relevant as well.  

This is Tess's first published work, with a copyright and an ISBN through the on-demand publisher VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, and as her father, I have to express my paternal pride with this signature accomplishment.  But as a reviewer with over 850 reviews exclusive to Lunch, I must say that the +3 rating for this slim study is well earned.

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