Synopses & Reviews
Eating the Enlightenment offers a new perspective on the history of food, looking at writings about cuisine, diet, and food chemistry as a key to larger debates over the state of the nation in Old Regime France. Embracing a wide range of authors and scientific or medical practitionersandmdash;from physicians and poets to philosophes and playwrightsandmdash;E. C. Spary demonstrates how public discussions of eating and drinking were used to articulate concerns about the state of civilization versus that of nature, about the effects of consumption upon the identities of individuals and nations, and about the proper form and practice of scholarship. En route, Spary devotes extensive attention to the manufacture, trade, and eating of foods, focusing upon coffee and liqueurs in particular, and also considers controversies over specific issues such as the chemistry of digestion and the nature of alcohol. Familiar figures such as Fontenelle, Diderot, and Rousseau appear alongside little-known individuals from the margins of the world of letters: the draughts-playing cafandeacute; owner Charles Manoury, the andldquo;Turkish envoyandrdquo; Soliman Aga, and the natural philosopher Jacques Gautier dandrsquo;Agoty. Equally entertaining and enlightening, Eating the Enlightenment will be an original contribution to discussions of the dissemination of knowledge and the nature of scientific authority.
About the Author
E. C. Spary is a lecturer in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of Utopiaand#8217;s Garden: French Natural History from Old Regime to Revolution and coeditor of Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe: Between Market and Laboratory, both published by the University of Chicago Press.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Twoand#160;From Curiosi to Consumers
Threeand#160;The Place of Coffee
Fiveand#160;The Philosophical Palate
Sixand#160;Rules of Regimen