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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
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by Sara Powell

2. a. An instrument with two, three, or four prongs, used for holding the food while it is being cut, for conveying it to the mouth, and for other purposes at table or in cooking. For carving-, dessert-, fish-, pickle-, table-fork, etc. see those words.

1463 Bury W. (Camden) 40, I beqwethe to Davn J. K. my silvir forke for grene gyngour. 1554 Ibid. 147, I geve and bequeath my spone with a forke in the end. 1589 Pasquil's Ret. Diij, At the signe of the siluer forke and the tosted cheese. 1605 B. JONSON Volpone IV. i, Then must you learn the use And handling of your silver fork at meals. 1724 R. FALCONER Voy. (1769) 65, I had in my Pocket a Knife and Fork. 1766 SMOLLETT Trav. 35 The poorest tradesman in Boulogne has..silver forks with four prongs. 1838 DICKENS Nich. Nick. vii, He laid down his knife and fork.
CAVEAT LECTOR: Groan-worthy chapter titles.

i. Proposal

I. Forkful: how I use forks

II. Forkstory: the history of the fork
II. a. fork manners: the evolution of fork etiquette

III. Forkless: how I don't use forks
III. a. the fork & food: the fork as mediator between eater and eaten
III. b. table setting: the fork as agent

IV. Forkstuffs: materiality of the fork

V. Forkography

Epilogue: They tell me that this is culturally relevant. But I don't watch MTV.

Posted at Sep 30/2008 06:10PM:
tleppard: Hi Sara. Aside from the Norbert Elias CW recommended, you might also look at James Deetz, 'Small Things Forgotten' (1977 I think?). Good luck with the reading!

Posted at Oct 09/2008 12:48AM:
Tiana H.: Sara, you could look into family heirloom silverware tying into the ideas of value, possession and memory

Posted at Oct 09/2008 02:01PM:
mark g.: Sara, thank you for the look into 'poubelle'. To your project, not sure where you are focusing, but here is a thought---I am a father of a 5 year old and recall with humor her early attempts at mastering a fork. It is a process of learning about one's own body, positions in space and gravity....mediated by the fork.

Posted at Oct 27/2008 10:57AM:
chris w.: Hi Sara, Professor Steven L. came across your project and suggested you might take a look at:

The Spoon : With Upwards Of One Hundred Illustrations, Primitive, Egyptian, Roman, Mediaeval, And M / by Habbakuk O. Westman.

Ewbank, Thomas, 1792-1870. London : Wiley & Putnam, 1845. 288 p., 8 leaves of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.


At the RISD library...

Posted at Dec 20/2008 12:28PM:
chris w.: I really enjoyed reading your project Sara. It is well structured. The anecdotes of your personal engagements on forkful and forkless days make for a wonderful addition to the study. I will not be able to interact with my dinner fork this evening as zuhanden. Great work.