The current trend in literary scholarship these days seems to be detailing what characters ate, where they ate it and what they were wearing at the time. A new book by graphic designer Dinah Fried (is that a real name or a pun?) entitled Fictitious Dishes offers up photographs of food dishes supposedly eaten by famous characters in literature. She includes the gruel from Oliver Twist (why?) , clam chowder from Moby Dick, and of course tea from Alice in Wonderland. The book consists of fifty pictures that started as a class project while the author was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design.
If food isn’t your thing, you might be interested to hear J.K. Rowling discusses the “myth and power of shoes” as a possible topic when she is guest editor for Women’s Hour, a BBC Radio 4 program. Rowling has a point, shoes are prevalent in literature in stories ranging from Cinderella’s glass slipper to Dorothy’s iconic red shoes in The Wizard of Oz. More recently, the television seriesSex and the City often featured shoes and led to the now famous quote by Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) that “You can take me out of Manhattan, but you can’t take me out of my shoes!”
Last but not least, if you find yourself craving to know where Sherlock Holmes lived in London, you can visit the website Placing Literature. The site is a collaboration of scholars, readers, authors and a software developer and is funded by the Arts Council of New Haven, CT. The home page (http://www.placingliterature.com/home) lets you start with a map that lets you zero in on world locations or you can do specific searches for authors or cities. A search for J.K. Rowlings turned up no results, but offered to let us enter the data ourselves. There is no information given about screening or vetting data points, but there is a way to report errors.