Journal of Romance Studies

Arctic rolls and gender roles

Female and male eating disorders in Karen Duve’s Regenroman and other texts

Journal of Romance Studies (2020), 20, (2), 225–248.

Abstract

This article examines disordered eating in men and women. It discusses the novel Regenroman (1999) [Rain (2002)] by German writer Karen Duve focusing on gender roles, food consumption, and the interconnection between female bulimia and male binge eating in the two protagonists. The article aims to show that the highly gendered issue of eating and wider aspects of food consumption in contemporary societies require an approach that engages with the fundamental link between perceptions of both male and female eating behaviour as part of a broader construction of ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’. Duve’s fictional exploration in Regenroman and in other texts employs realism counterposed by parody and the grotesque, and undermined by shifting, conflicting perspectives. Her texts offer, this article argues, the discursive space to explore the topic of disordered and gendered eating innovatively.

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Works cited

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Colin, Leigh, and Raymond Lemberg (2014) Current Findings on Males with Eating Disorders (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (1999) Regenroman (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn); trans. Anthea Bell (2002) Rain (London: Bloomsbury). Google Scholar

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Witcomb, Gemma L., Nicola Brewin, Christina Richars, Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Walter Pierre Bouman, and Jon Arcelus (2015) ‘Body image dissatisfaction and eating-related psychopathology in trans individuals: A matched control study’, European Eating Disorders Review 23.4: 287–293, doi: 10.1002/erv.2362. Google Scholar

Wolf, Naomi (1990) The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used against Women (London: Chatto and Windus). Google Scholar

Bagley, Petra, Francesca Calamita, and Kathryn Robson (eds) (2018) Starvation, Food Obsession and Identity: Eating Disorders in Contemporary Women’s Writing (Oxford and Berne: Peter Lang). Google Scholar

Bartel, Heike (2011) ‘Karen Duve: Taxi: Of alpha-males, apes, Altenberg and driving in the city’, in Emerging German-Language Novelists of the 21st Century, ed. Lyn Marven and Stuart Taberner (Rochester and New York: Camden House), 179–194. Google Scholar

Bartel, Heike, and Elizabeth Boa (eds) (2006) Pushing at Boundaries: Approaches to Contemporary German Women Writers from Karen Duve to Jenny Erpenbeck (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi). Google Scholar

Blumenkamp, Katrin (2011) Das ‘Literarische Fräuleinwunder’: die Funktionsweise eines Etiketts im literarischen Feld der Jahrtausenwende (Berlin: Lit). Google Scholar

Bordo, Susan (2003 [1993]) Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body (Berkeley and London: University of California Press). Google Scholar

Butler, Judith (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Chernin, Kim (1981) The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness (New York: Harper and Row). Google Scholar

Chernin, Kim (1986) The Hungry Self: Women, Eating and Identity (London: Virago). Google Scholar

Colin, Leigh, and Raymond Lemberg (2014) Current Findings on Males with Eating Disorders (London and New York: Routledge). Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (1999) Regenroman (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn); trans. Anthea Bell (2002) Rain (London: Bloomsbury). Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (2002a) Dies ist kein Liebeslied (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn); trans. Anthea Bell (2005) This is Not a Lovesong (London: Bloomsbury). Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (2002b) ‘“Eine erbärmliche Sucht”, Interview mit Susanne Messmer’, taz, 25 September, 9. Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (2008) Taxi. Roman (Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn). Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (2011) Anständig Essen: Ein Selbstversuch (Berlin: Galiani). Google Scholar

Duve, Karen (2016) Macht (Berlin: Galiani); trans. Mike Mitchell (2018) The Prepper Room (Sawtry: Dedalus). Google Scholar

Ellis, Bret Easton (1991) American Psycho (London and New York: Vintage). Foucault, Michel (1994 [1977]) in Dits et écrits, vol. III (1976–1979) (Paris: Gallimard), 190–207. Google Scholar

Frommert, Christian (2013) ‘Dann iss halt was!’ Mit einem Vorwort von Oliver Bierhoff (München: Goldmann Mosaik). Google Scholar

Gartner, Rosemary, and Bill McCarthy (eds) (2014) The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex and Crime (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Google Scholar

Gilman, Sander (2004) Fat Boys. A Slim Book (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press). Google Scholar

Gordon, Richard (2000 [1990]) Eating Disorders – Anatomy of a Social Epidemic (Oxford: Blackwell). Google Scholar

Graves, Peter (2002) ‘Karen Duve, Kathrin Schmidt, Judith Hermann: “Ein literarisches Fräuleinwunder”?’, German Life and Letters 55: 196–207. Google Scholar

Herzog, David B., Isabel S. Bradburn, and Kerry Newman (2014) ‘Sexuality in males with eating disorders’, in Males with Eating Disorders, ed. Arnold E. Andersen (London and New York: Routledge), 40–52. Google Scholar

Jameson, Fredric (1982) The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press). Google Scholar

Kayser, Wolfgang (1961) Das Groteske in der Malerei und Dichtung (Reinbek: Rowohlt); trans. Ulrich Weisstein (1966) The Grotesque in Art and Literature (New York: McGraw-Hill). Google Scholar

Kracht, Christian (1995) Faserland (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch). Google Scholar

Krasnow, Michael (1996) My Life as a Male Anorexic (New York and London: Harrington Park Press). Google Scholar

Landreau, John C., and Michael Murphy (2011) ‘Introduction to the special issue – Masculinities in women’s studies: Locations and dislocations’, in Men and Masculinities 14.2: 132–134. Google Scholar

Linklater, Beth (2001) ‘“Philomela’s Revenge”: Challenges to rape in recent writing in German’, German Life and Letters 54: 253–271. Google Scholar

Littler, Margaret (2007) ‘Cultural memory and identity formation in the Berlin Republic’, in Contemporary German Fiction: Writing in the Berlin Republic, ed. Stuart Taberner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 177–195. Google Scholar

Michalzik, Peter (1999) ‘Männer sind Hunde’, in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20–21 March, 7. Google Scholar

Müller, Heidelinde (2004) Das ‘literarische Fräuleinwunder’ (Oxford and Berne: Peter Lang). Google Scholar

Nünning, Ansgar, and Vera Nünning (2004) ‘Von der feministischen Narratologie zur gender-orientierten Erzähltextanalyse’, in Erzähltextanalyse und Gender Studies, ed. Ansgar Nünning and Vera Nünning (Weimar and Stuttgart: Metzler), 1–32. Google Scholar

Orbach, Susie (1978) Fat Is a Feminist Issue: How to Lose Weight Permanently without Dieting (New York: Paddington Press). Google Scholar

Roth, John K. (2012) Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide (Saint Paul, MN: Paragon House). Google Scholar

Schwartz, Hillel (1986) Never Satisfied: A Cultural History of Diets, Fantasies and Fat (New York: Macmillan). Google Scholar

Shafi, Monika (2006) ‘Spaces of violence: On the role of home, nature and gender in the narratives of Karen Duve and Felicitas Hoppe’, in Violence, Culture and Identity: Essays on German and Austrian Literature, Politics and Society, ed. Helen Chambers (Berne, New York, and Amsterdam: Peter Lang), 373–388. Google Scholar

Stuckrad-Barre, Benjamin von (2016) Panikherz (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch). Google Scholar

van Peer, Willie, and Seymour Chatman (2001) ‘Introduction’, in New Perspectives on Narrative Perspective, ed. van Peer and Chatman (Albany: State University of New York Press), 1–20. Google Scholar

Wierlacher, Alois (1987) Vom Essen in der deutschen Literatur: Mahlzeiten in Erzähltexten von Goethe bis Grass (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer). Google Scholar

Witcomb, Gemma L., Nicola Brewin, Christina Richars, Fernando Fernández-Aranda, Walter Pierre Bouman, and Jon Arcelus (2015) ‘Body image dissatisfaction and eating-related psychopathology in trans individuals: A matched control study’, European Eating Disorders Review 23.4: 287–293, doi: 10.1002/erv.2362. Google Scholar

Wolf, Naomi (1990) The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used against Women (London: Chatto and Windus). Google Scholar

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Details

Author details

Bartel, Heike

Bartel, Heike