Tim Youngs
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Victorian writing; African eating
Digesting Africa
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In nineteenth-century travel narratives descriptions of Africans eating are flavoured with a patronising amusement or tainted with disgust. Increasing distance between food and its consumers had been given moral and social status during developments since the Middle Ages. In nineteenth-century Britain the adaptation to life in towns had important effects on food and eating habits, as John Burnett has remarked. From 1815 when the Assize of Bread was repealed 'there was no general attempt by government to intervene between producer, retailer and consumer in order to regulate the price or quality of food'. The accounts of Africans eating are framed in a form not just inaccessible to them but which is itself a mark of a culture from which their lowly position in the hierarchy of cultures or 'races' excludes them.

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Travellers in Africa

British Travelogues, 1850–1900

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