The Lost Gastronomers

  • Denise GiganteEmail author


Who were the lost gastronomers of the Romantic period? This chapter interrogates the tradition of English food writing in the Age of Gastronomy, when first the modern gourmet restaurants emerged in Paris and professional French chefs made dining an art form. At this time a miscellaneous genre of food writing arose to critique the artistry: playful literary and philosophical essays that became the forerunner of today’s food journalism. But whereas names like Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and Grimod de la Reynière were famous in the French tradition, the English Romantic writers who followed in their path were largely anonymous. Although not typically associated with gastronomy, essayists like Leigh Hunt and Charles Lamb were active participants in it. The chapter will examine the intriguing relationship between Lamb, the literary food connoisseur, and the anonymous Launcelot Sturgeon whose Essays: Moral, Philosophical, and Stomachical is one of the great lost works of the period.

Works Cited

  1. Addison, Joseph, and Richard Steele, et al. 1965. The Spectator, 5 vols. Ed. Donald F. Bond. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. [attributed to James White]. 1796. Original Letters, &c. of Sir John Falstaff and His Friends; Now First Made Public by a Gentleman, a Descendant of Dame Quickly, from Genuine Manuscripts which have been in the Possession of the Quickly Family Near Four Hundred Years. London: G. G. and J. Robinsons; J. Debrett.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1822. Review of Launcelot Sturgeon’s Essays, Moral, Philosophical and Stomachical on the Important Science of Good-Living. The Literary Gazette: A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and Fine Arts, 265.Google Scholar
  4. Fields, Annie Adams. 1894. A Shelf of Old Books. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Foote, Samuel. 1827. The Mayor of Garratt: A Farce, in Two Acts. London: John Cumberland.Google Scholar
  6. Gigante, Denise. 2005. Taste: A Literary History. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. ——— (ed.). 2005. Gusto: Essential Writings in Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2017. Who Was Launcelot Sturgeon? The Charles Lamb Bulletin 166: 6–19.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 2020. The Romantic Revolution in Taste. In: The Cambridge Companion to Food and Literature. Ed. J. Michelle Coghlen. 44–57. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Grimod de la Reynière, Alexandre Balthasar Laurent. 1803–12. Almanach des gourmands, servant de guide dans les moyens de faire excellente chère, 8 vols. Paris: Maradan.Google Scholar
  11. Hood, Thomas. 1821. Ode to W. Kitchener, M. D. The London Magazine 23(4).Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1876. The Choice Works of Thomas Hood, in Prose and Verse, including the Cream of the Comic Annuals. London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
  13. Hume, David. 1768. Of the Standard of Taste. In: Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects, 2 vols., rev. ed., 1: 255–81. London: A. Millar.Google Scholar
  14. Hunt, Leigh. 1815. The Round Table. The Examiner 366: 11–13.Google Scholar
  15. J. O. 1875. Launcelot Sturgeon. Notes and Queries 80(4).Google Scholar
  16. Kitchiner, William. 1831. The Cook’s Oracle; Containing Receipts for Plain Cookery, on the Most Economical Plan for Private Families, M.D. London: Robert Cadell.Google Scholar
  17. [Lamb, Charles]. 1891. An Unpublished Letter of Charles Lamb. Strand Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly 2: 586–88.Google Scholar
  18. Lamb, Charles. 1812. The Triumph of the Whale. The Examiner, March 15.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 1821. Elia to his Correspondents. The London Magazine 4(23): 465–66.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1903. The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. Ed. E. V. Lucas, 6 vols. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1935. The Letters of Charles Lamb to Which Are Added Those of His Sister Mary Lamb. Ed. E. V. Lucas, 3 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lockhart, John Gibson. 1817. On the Cockney School of Poetry, No. 1. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 2(7): 38–41.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 1820. Remarks on Tabella Cibaria or The Bill of Fare. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 7(42): 667–74.Google Scholar
  24. Marin, François. 1758. Les Dons de Comus, ou L’Art de la Cuisine. Paris: Pissot.Google Scholar
  25. Mennell, Stephen. 1995. All Manners of Food: Eating and Taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the Present. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  26. Scott, John. 1815. A Visit to Paris, 1814. 2nd ed. London: Longman, Hurst et al.Google Scholar
  27. Shakespeare, William. 1974. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. B. Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  28. Smollett, Tobias. 1815. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. London: J. Walker, J. Richardson, et al.Google Scholar
  29. Spang, Rebecca L. 2000. The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Sturgeon, Launcelot (pseud.). 1822. Essays, Moral, Philosophical, and Stomachical on the Important Science of Good-Living. London: G. and W. B. Whittaker. Microfilmed (N.S. 15964) by Pennsylvania State University Libraries.Google Scholar
  31. Wilson, John, John Gibson Lockhart [or William Maginn]. 1821. The Leg of Mutton School of Poetry. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 9(51): 345–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations