Brillat-Savarin and Food
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826) is the author of La Physiologie du goût [The Physiology of Taste]. Appearing in Paris in 1825, this delightful record of a lifetime’s observations has remained continuously in print, unrivalled as the core gastronomic text. While the book is more quoted than read and lacks an authoritative edition or analysis in either French or English, it provides a seemingly inexhaustible supply of insights that includes a hedonic theory of history.
La Physiologie du Goût
“Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are,” Brillat-Savarin is well known for announcing. This is the fourth of twenty aphorisms that he intended “to serve as a prolegomenon to his work and as a lasting foundation to the science,” by which he meant gastronomy. The aphorisms announced an ontology: “The universe is nothing without life, and all that lives nourishes itself” (Aphorism I). They recommend hedonism: “The Creator, obliging...
KeywordsPhysical Pleasure French Edition Aesthetic Pleasure Classical Rhetorician Hedonic Theory
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