We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

A Literary History of Chocolate

23rd September 2015, 17:30 to 19:00, Alington House, Nicoletta Asciutto and Amy Smith

The editors of The Literary Kitchen blog will indulge audiences of the sixth Late Summer Lecture, who will be invited to sample the ways in which chocolate has been represented in literature.

'Chocolate is...the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.'

Justus von Liebig

The Literary Kitchen is a blog about literature and food which aims to engage the public by inspiring a love of reading whilst introducing a non-specialist audience to academic work. Through examining food in literature it is possible to learn much about both characterisation and context, as well as to allow people to recreate their favourite texts at home.

Our lecture will literally give the audience a taste of some of the best chocolate moments in literature. It is particularly fascinating to trace the use of the cocoa bean in imaginative texts due to its exotic and erotic connotations. It is variously a symbol of colonial exploitation, extravagant luxury, desire, and cosmopolitanism. Beginning with the new vogue for hot chocolate in Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, we will provide a brief survey of how chocolate has appeared in literature over time. With reference to the Venetian literary cafes of the eighteenth century, we will argue that chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to art, before moving on to focus on the twentieth century for the majority of the lecture. In the twentieth century we will draws examples from texts such as James Joyce's Ulysses and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, as well As more popular novels such as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Joanne Harris's Chocolat.

Recipes and samples from the Literary Kitchen will be provided during the lecture.

About Late Summer Lectures

Now in its sixth year, the Late Summer Lecture Series enables doctoral and postdoctoral student from the Department of English in Durham, Newcastle, and York to broadcast their ground-breaking research to a wider audience. The full programme for the latest instalment is now available for viewing on the Late Summer Lecture Series website, and reflects the diverse and exploratory nature of research currently undertaken by scholars in the North East.

Podcasts from previous lecture series can be downloaded via Research English At Durham.

Contact for more information about this event.

Contact for more information about this event.

Related Links


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.

Follow English Studies on Social Media

Research English At Durham Facebook Twitter Mixcloud

Next Event