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Gluttony (Τα Επτά Θανάσιμα Αμαρτήματα #5)

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
In America, notes acclaimed novelist Francine Prose, we are obsessed with food and diet. And what is this obsession with food except a struggle between sin and virtue, overeating and self-control--a struggle with the fierce temptations of gluttony.
In Gluttony, Francine Prose serves up a marvelous banquet of witty and engaging observations on this most delicious of deadly
Paperback, 108 pages
Published August 23rd 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 11th 2003)
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Apr 14, 2010 Anna rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Again and again, I'm drawn to Francine Prose's fascinating ideas; I'm drawn into her clear way of presenting intriguing places and people and ideas. I will likely finish whatever book of her's that I pick up. But I will be somewhat disappointed that each book--at least drawing from what I've encountered so far--flirts with depth without actually diving in.

Take Gluttony, for example, which was part of the New York Public Library's 'Seven Deadly Sins' series. In it, Prose spends most of her time d
Aug 17, 2008 Danny rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
Prose notes that our culture has a mixed relationship with food, simultaneously believing eating to be giving in to sinful indulgence while always being on the lookout for "the trendiest restaurant and the newest exotic ingredient." And yet, gluttony itself has more to do with desire and appetite than actual consumption, at least according to early church fathers (according to Francine Prose), and so "Precisely because of our inordinate interests, our preoccupation with sampling the trendiest ...more
Colleen Wainwright
Prose is a lovely writer (which, good thing, considering the name and all) and a good thinker, so there's lots to like in this volume of the NYC Library/Oxford Press series, including the world's greatest story about unintentional gluttony, involving oysters and a dreadful poetry reading and a masterful use of Gregory the Great's summation of gluttony ("Too soon, too delicately, too greedily, too much") as a recurring anchor phrase throughout. She is lively and studious at once (plus did I ...more
Jun 17, 2010 Gloria rated it liked it
Quickly skimmed (waiting at dentist's office--a long, double appointment), and glad to have done so, mainly because I really hadn't thought about gluttony in any depth before. Lots of great historical, religiuos, and artistic references to pursue later (particularly the paintings). Loved the citations to MFk Fisher as a counter-voice.

Prose is a marvelous writer; haven't read much by her, but will be on the look out for more.

And funny, I was just yesterday trying to parse out 'gourmand' versus 'g
Mark Valentine
Mar 03, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it liked it
A compilation of literary texts from the Bible and Classic Literature to Augustine and Aquinas and the Church Fathers to Fielding and the 20th Century science as well as interpretations of Fine Art, Prose reports and presents--although she writes well, sadly, she offers few insights into the malady we now call obesity.
C. Derick
Oct 18, 2016 C. Derick rated it really liked it
Francine Prose's Gluttony looks focuses on how the title sin feels both like particularly idiosyncratic anachronism or incredibly relevant. Prose's primary concern is the tension between the way gluttony is viewed and morphed: half-admired secretly, half seen as the primary gateway to other sins, Prose traces the idea from its medieval incarnation to through the early modern period and the various depictions of glutton hells to our current obsession with weight loss and yet increasing girth. A ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Steve rated it it was ok
After spending much of the book on a chapter about early Christian views on the sin of gluttony, and some art works, she then jumps to modern day weight issues. Obesity is not gluttony, so not sure why spend time on it in this slim volume. Then some quick examples of gluttony and views on gluttony in the 20th C.

Issue with OUP as well - read as an ebook, and the numerous footnotes in the text are not hyperlinked to the citations in the back of the book. Luckily I found after 3 or 4 of them that
Mar 24, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: spring-2010
This book is a brief account of the cultural history of the sin of gluttony. According to the book there are historically two reasons that gluttony has been considered deadly. First, gluttony can be seen as a form of idolatry in which worship of sensual pleasure replaces worship of God, and second, gluttony weakens our resolve, opening the door to lechery and debauchery. It seems to me that on a deeper level, gluttony may perhaps be “sinful” because of the fraught nature of the relation between ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This great little book discusses the history and development of how society views the sin of gluttony. It reads more like an in-depth article than a book, and certainly generates a lot more questions than answers, but I appreciated how Prose casts the acts of overeating and undereating in a historical, rather than merely nutritional, light.

I bought this book solely because one of my favorite authors wrote it, but now I am curious about the rest of the collection. Ugh, just what I don't need in m
Jan 05, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
Interesting look at gluttony from the double lens of past Christian church attitudes and current body image concerns. My own take on the seven deadlies (codified in the 4th century CE, according to Wiki) is that they are varieties of self-indulgence or involvement that can undermine the common good and community cohesion. I've read two of this series (gluttony & envy) - might seek out the others.
Megan C
Feb 24, 2009 Megan C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book really impressed me. The writing and ideas were both highly intelligent and accessible. Prose covers the concept of gluttony from the theologians of the early church up until modern obsessions with fine dining of one hand and extreme dieting on the other. Incredibly interesting for any looking to learn more about the history of ideas.
Heather Bolwar
Jan 03, 2008 Heather Bolwar rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in reading up on your seven deadly sins.
I found this book in the religion section of the base library; I was actually searching for a book on saints. As I like food I thought I'd check this one out. Rather than saying you're a big fat pig, it actually was a study on what we as a society view as a glutton, what history said about it, and so forth. I like a good steak, but after reading this I feel soooo svelte next to Diamond Jim Brady.
Mar 09, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it
Ah, gluttony: another favorite deadly sin. I liked this one better than Wasserstein's Sloth, probably because this was more like what I was expecting from the series: an erudite highlights tour of whichever sin in art and literature.
Apr 16, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
I really liked most of the book. I thought she went a bit overboard decrying the western cultural perscution related to obesity, and at times didn't acknowledge that there are significant health issues related to extreme gluttony..
Oct 26, 2014 Tim rated it liked it
Prose does a thoughtful job on the role of gluttony and food concerns today while engaging in caricature with the church fathers and medieval thinkers. It also ends abruptly, out of steam and argument.
Jan 04, 2009 Travis rated it really liked it
A fascinating and well-written exploration of food, appetite and spirituality. Particularly interesting to me in light of my work with eating disorders.
Mar 08, 2015 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and interesting topic. I bought it as a reference for writing fiction and think it'll serve that purpose well.
Ragan Sutterfield
May 03, 2013 Ragan Sutterfield rated it liked it
Some interesting historical anecdotes, but otherwise lacking deep insight into the nature of Gluttony. I was left hungry.
An interesting look at one of the deadly sins. Unfortunately, I sorta forgot about everything it said after reading it. Not a good sign.
Sian rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2012
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Aug 18, 2009
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Aug 19, 2011
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Francine Prose (born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American novelist. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. She has sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own Award, and her novel Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is now teaching at Bard College.

More about Francine Prose...

Other Books in the Series

Τα Επτά Θανάσιμα Αμαρτήματα (7 books)
  • Greed
  • Lust
  • Anger
  • Envy
  • Αλαζονεία (Τα Επτά Θανάσιμα Αμαρτήματα #6)
  • Sloth: The Seven Deadly Sins (New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities)

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