When printing lets ordinary people access a world of ideas, including Indian vegetarianism, some European radicals and diet gurus begin to oppose meat-eating.
Episode 10: Revolution
In England, the 1600s are a century of revolution. The artisans and yeomanry are picking up books – and the New Model Army is picking up pikes and muskets to turn the world upside down.
Ian meets Dr Ariel Hessayon, a lecturer in the radicals of the English Civil War at a Thameside pub that was there during the 1600s, to discover tabloid scares and firebrand sermons about people who ate only bread, and water and fruit.
In Ahmedabad, India, he visits the kind of animal hospital that astounded European travellers. And he hears from author Tristram Stuart about the impact stories of India had on Europeans, and how they shook Christendom’s moral certainty.
Dr Anita Guerrini researches the first vegetarian diet gurus, whose books about food and medicine interpreted the intellectuals of the Republic of Letters for everyone else. And she tells Ian about the secret religion of Sir Isaac Newton.
- Sherwin Everett and Giraben Shah (Jivdaya Charitable Trust, within Panjrapole Ahmedabad)
- Ariel Hessayon, Goldsmiths, University of London (@ArielHessayon1 on Twitter)
- Anita Guerrini, Oregon State University (@NickyTheProf on Twitter)
- Tristram Stuart (tristramstuart.co.uk) (on Wikipedia) (@TristramStuart on Twitter)
- Traveller Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, “Voyage .. to the East Indies”, 1595, translation by Burnell 1598
- Thomas Bushell on his diet, quoted in Stuart p 8
- Richard Baxter, “The Poor Husbandman’s Advocate to Rich Racking Landlords”, 1691 (published as “The Last Treatise of Rev Richard Baxter” in 1926 [PDF])
- Thomas Edwards, “Gangraeana”, 1646
- John Reeve, “A Transcendental Spiritual Treatise”, 1711 (1st ed 1652)
- Lodowick Muggleton, “The Acts of the Witnesses of the Spirit”, 1699
- Anon & Roger Crab, “The English Hermit”, 1655
- John Evelyn, “Acetaria”, 1699
- Thomas Tryon
- “A dialogue between an East-Indian brackmanny or heathen-philosopher, and a French gentleman concerning the present affairs of Europe”, 1683
- “Transcript of several letters from Averroes – also several letters from Pythagoras to the King of India”, 1695
- Anonymous, “Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy”, Vol 4 & 7, 1691-4 (following Giovanni Paolo Marana tr William Bradshaw, “Letters Writ By a Turkish Spy”, Vol 1 1687)
- Isaac Newton, “Irenicum”, some point within 1711-1727
- Bernard de Mandeville, “Fable of the Bees”, 1723
- Alexander Pope, “The Essay on Man”, 1733/4
- George Cheyne
- John Wesley
This is really where the story breaks open in the west and a “Pythagorean” diet re-enters the popular consciousness for the first time since antiquity. Frustratingly, I had to leave out a lot, such as how Thomas Tryon follows the mystic Jakob Boehme (quite a lot of early vegetarians are mystics) .
In particular, George Cheyne has a very specific theory of how the nervous system works, based on the physical laws of Newton. But I can’t go into detail on all the theories that have fallen and risen as “natural history” stumbles towards a useful understanding of the body.
The monument to Roger Crab is still in St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, London, though unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate it. As I live near there, it would be nice to pay our vegan predecessor some respects.
The broadcast of this episode was on 6 Dec 2016. The podcast release was severely delayed. Rather than date this page with the broadcast date (as usual) I’m dating it to the January broadcast slot that was superseded by Resonance FM’s holiday schedules. Content (whether books, journal articles, or programmes) tends to be identified by its publication year, and so I thought it particularly important that that stays accurate.
The theme music is by Robb Masters.
The period music was Greensleeves performed by Paul Arden-Taylor and Carol Holt (PD); slow reels (dances) “Long Acre” and “Kerry Fling” performed by the “Peak Fiddler”; Papalin’s performance on recorders of Henry Purcell’s Sonata in D Major (CC-BY) to again evoke turn-of-the-century London, and Telemann’s performance of Händel’s recorder Sonata.
With the voices of Jeremy Hancock, Ian Russell, and Brian Roberts.
Nimi Hirani gave me enormous help and assistance in Ahmedabad, and in India in general.
The cover picture (by me) is some of the books in the readings: “Acetaria” (Evelyn) , “The English Hermit” (Crab), a pamphlet attacking Crab, and “Guide to Health, Long Life and Happiness” by George Cheyne.