“A dazzlingly original and important contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Tompkins brings a new lens to bear on the cultural forms of a particular time and place, resulting in new insights into familiar texts but also in new ways of seeing archives that may not have seemed worth further exploration.”
—Glenn Hendler, Fordham University
“Racial Indigestion is as creative as it is theoretically rigorous and archivally grounded. Tompkins sets forth a marvelous, fruitful array of analytic sites and clever juxtapositions, tracing the politics inherent in the decline of the hearth and the rise of stoves, unpacking Louisa May Alcott’s figures of bread and candy, reimagining the mouth as the window to an alimentary politics, and tracking the post-Reconstruction politics of trade cards. The connections she makes between eating and vernacular culture make the book satisfyingly literary, even as it is so clearly a stellar work of cultural studies.”
—Elizabeth Freeman, author of Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories
“Racial Indigestion has a broad sweep….the book makes a convincing argument about the centrality of the mouth and digestion to nineteenth-century American identities through numerous examples…The best moments in Racial Indigestion come not in the large, embracing statements of cultural analysis but in Tompkins’s close and persuasive textual readings….
The book’s final section. an astonishing journey through the now-obscure genre of turn-of-the-century chromolithographed trade cards, is a tour de force….
[Racial Indigestion forces] us to see racialization in wholly new arenas and new ways…I experienced moments of excitement and delight that come with encountering new and field-expanding ideas.”
—Sarah Chinn, reviewing Racial Indigestion in American Quarterly