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A Miserable Feast: Dishing Up the Biblical Body in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover

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The paper considers the place of the Bible in the abject world of Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Two biblical intertexts are evident: Psalm 51, which is sung repeatedly throughout the film as a call to repentance, and the Last Supper, which forms the climactic revenge of one of the characters. The texts are interwoven with some significant themes in the film (corporeality, consumption and violence), all of which work to establish and manipulate the presence of the abject. With the assistance of the Bible, the characters' relation to the abject becomes contested and contradictory. Ultimately, the texts exhibit a peculiar logic that threatens to undermine the film's plot, and its characters.


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