“Of course in a talk on Bataille and Shakespeare focusing on King Lear I cannot fail to mention the scene in which Shakespeare’s play is disclosed as another Story of the Eye. It is Cornwall I think, at the behest of his wife, who plucks out the eye of Edgar’s father crying memorably, ‘Out vile jelly! Where is thy lustre now’. The eye, uprooted from its socket and rendered useless, blind, produces for Bataille a heterological object par excellence. In Lear it also becomes a culinary object, a ‘vile jelly’, a base ‘sotelte’. Jellies – gelatin-based sweet or savory dishes – became popular in the late medieval period particularly as ‘subtleties’ that adorned the banqueting tables of the rich. Dyed with vivid natural colourings, ‘sandalwood for red, saffron for a fiery yellow, and boiled blood for black’, jellies and custards were created as visually striking and alluring pieces at banqueting tables alongside special sugar sculptures. Its form able to lend itself to any shape in a mold, jellies and these sugar sculptures came in all sorts of curious forms - castles, ships, birds and animals, famous philosophers, or scenes from fables, and body parts, even genitals – and no doubt, as objects produced to please and startle vision as much as taste -- the eye. The only difference with Gloucester’s jelly is that is ‘vile’ that is to say base, as opposed to noble, a waste product not fit to grace a royal table.”
EXTRACT BY PROFESSOR SCOTT WILSON MOUTH AT KINGSTON UNIVERSITY; KISSIT: SHAKESPEARE AND WASTE - PLENARY AND ROUNDTABLE
The Shakespeare and Waste plenary "is by Scott Wilson who is Professor of Media and Communication at Kingston University. His research interests include cultural & critical theory, particularly psychoanalysis and the legacy of Georges Bataille. His latest books include Stop Making Sense: Music from the Perspective of the Real (2015); The Order of Joy: Beyond the Cultural Politics of Enjoyment (2008); and Great Satan’s Rage: American Negativity and Rap/Metal in the Age of Supercapitalism (2008). With Fred Botting, he has co-edited The Bataille Reader and co-authored Bataille. He is also co-editor (with Michael Dillon) of the Journal for Cultural Research (Taylor & Francis). His talk is entitled ”Vile Jellies’: Bataille, Shakespeare and the Exhumanities’.
Those fantastic vile jellies are the creation of MOUTH, which is an actionist art project in culinary heterology formed in March 2012 by Edia Connole and Scott Wilson. Recent events include: LAND: A Scarcity Banquet for CREATE with Jesse Presley Jones, Cecilia Bullo, Emer Roberts, Kathy Tynan and The Korean Society of Ireland. The Eternal Winter of Festivity, The Other North Symposium, CCA Derry~Londonderry, April 2013; All Fingers and Tongues: Hosting the Divine with Charlie Gere & MOUTH, Break Bread Open, FACT, Liverpool Biennial, October 2012; Melancholia, Messianic Banquets and the 19th Hole, Culture Politics Eschatology: A Symposium, Glasgow University & Lancaster University, The Storey Institute, Lancaster, September 2012; please see Mouth."
Extract taken from Kingston Shakespeare Seminar, read in full here.
Listen to the full recording of the KiSSiT: Shakespeare and Waste plenaries as well as the finishing roundtable here.