Publication details [#622]

Suárez-Toste, Ernesto. 2007. “A slightly obscene wine”: Premodification and personification in Roald Dahl’s “Taste”. Madrid: UNED, D.L. 2007. 5 pp.
Publication type
Book – conference proceedings
Publication language
ISBN 978-84-611-6897-2


This paper analyzes how wine is described in Roald Dahl’s short story “Taste”. Mike Schofield invites a famous wine connoisseur, Richard Pratt for dinner and asks him to guess the identity of the dinner wine. Mike’s statement made at the beginning of the dinner “A Rhine wine will kill a delicate claret” uses the metaphorical schema WINE IS A LIVING CREATURE. Throughout the story wine is attributed human qualities as can be observed in Pratt’s tasting notes “A prudent wine, he would say, ‘rather diffident and evasive, but quite prudent.’ Or, ‘A good-humoured wine, benevolent and cheerful – slightly obscene, perhaps, but none the less good-humoured.’”. The excessive wine personification contrasts sharply with the objectivization and animalization of the characters (e.g. There was an excess of saliva in his mouth, and as he spoke he spat an occasional bright speck of it on to the table).