The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

Front Cover
UPNE, 1996 - Cooking - 402 pages
14 Reviews
"In this fascinating and informative story of vegetarianism since prehistoric times, Colin Spencer describes the religious, philosophical, and social aspects of vegetarianism, introducing such prominent and often colorful practitioners as Pythagoras, Ovid, Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Thomas More, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Gandhi, and Hitler. Though the word "vegetarian" was not coined until the mid-nineteenth century, the meatless diet has been around for as long as people have. Spencer describes the major movements that shared the doctrine as well as the surprisingly diverse moralities, perspectives, and philosophies that motivated them. He shows that vegetarianism, when not forced on humans by poverty, was often just one element in a radical ideology that repeatedly led to the marginalization of vegetarians in our society. This gracefully written and meticulously researched book presents not only a surprising slice through world history but also an unusual story of dissidence and revolt."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - le.vert.galant - LibraryThing

Vegetarianism follows a radical path through Western culture: borne in the Orphic traditions inherited by Pythagoras from Ancient Egyptian religion. It flourished within Greek philosophy becoming an ... Read full review

Review: The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

User Review  - David Bates - Goodreads

Colin Spencer seems like a nice guy, but he isn't a historian. I found the rambling structure and unfocused inquiry too frustrating to continue reading after the first few chapters. Read full review

Contents

In the Beginning
1
Pythagoras and His Inheritance
33
India
69
Plato to Porphyry
87
Early Christianity
108
Gnostic Sects and the Manicheans
130
The Renaissance
180
The Clockwork Universe
201
The Rise of Humanism
223
Docks and Dandelions
252
Sunlight and Sandals
295
Sentient or Machine?
319
Afterword
344
The Rise of the Vegetarian Cookery Book
358
A Select Bibliography
384
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Novelist, playwright, and food critic for the Guardian, COLIN SPENCER also writes for film and television. An artist and author of books on food and cookery, he also cultivates flowers, herbs, and oriental vegetables in East Sussex.

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