‘Eating Sex’ and the Unlovely Song of Songs: Reading Consumption, Excretion and DH Lawrence

Meredith, Christopher (2016) ‘Eating Sex’ and the Unlovely Song of Songs: Reading Consumption, Excretion and DH Lawrence. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. (In Press)

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Abstract

Recent trends in Song of Songs scholarship have questioned the obviousness of the so-called literal readings of the poem. This paper contributes to that debate by returning to the trope of food—an old staple of sexual analysis of the Song—to foreground the way in which gastronomic readings deconstruct the literalist’s Song. Exploiting the idea of critical excrementality from the works of Elspeth Probyn, Noelle Châtelet and Julia Kristeva, the article explores the way the romantic Song of Songs is produced by overwriting the text’s tacit reliance on darkness, death and the processes of putrefaction. The paper concludes by arguing that DH Lawrence anticipates the idea of an abject Song of Songs in his collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers, where the issue of excrementality challenges our expectations of the biblical text and exposes the preconditions of so-called ‘romantic’ readings. Lawrence thus sends us back to the debate about the literal/allegorical readings of the Song with a re-calibrated sense of what that discussion actually entails, and what grotesqueries its idyll presumes.

Item Type: Journal Article
School/Department: School of Education, Theology and Leadership
Depositing User: Christopher Meredith
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2016 08:16
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 14:37
URI: http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/id/eprint/1263

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