In this highly original book, Camporesi explores the two worlds of feast and famine in early modern Europe.
Camporesi brings together a mosaic of images from Italian folklore:phantasmagoric processions of giants, pigs, vagabonds, down-trodden rogues, charlatans and beggars in rags. He reconstructs a world inhabited by the strange forces of peasant culture, and describes the various rituals – carnivals, festivities, competitions and funerals – in which food played a central role.
Camporesi’s description alternates between the lives of the “haves” and the “have-nots”. He moves from the starving underworld of “criminalized poverty”, where people were forced to develop the art of living at the expense of others simply in order to survive, to the gastronomic culture of the well-fed, with their excessive eating habits, oily foods and colourful table manners.
<i>The Land of Hunger</i>is a graphic and engaging journey into the folk culture of early modern Europe. It will consolidate Camporesi’s reputation as one of the most original and imaginative historians of our time.