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Read Transcript of Ep 13: The Vegetarians

Close up of printed English writing

Follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.

US Army band in an archive recording of period song “Army Bean”:

‘Tis the bean that we mean!

[fades and continues in background]

Ian [as narrator]:

In the last half of the 19th century, organised vegetarianism throws itself into questions of global politics – slavery, colonialism, and votes for women. 

This episode, we’ll discover the abolitionist vegetarian settlement in the Wild West, how the British Empire accidentally more Hindus to go vegetarian, and I’m getting on my bike to discover just how [bicycle bell tinkles] surprisingly big vegetarianism was in London – in the 1880s.

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VegHist Ep 13: The Vegetarians. Abolitionism, colonialism, and Victorian reformers; with Julia Twigg and Bhaskar Chakraborty. In London

An old photograph of over a dozen vegetarian magazines

In the late nineteenth century, the new vegetarian movement is intertwined with other struggles – including Victorian reformers, the Indian reaction to British colonialism, and most importantly, slavery.

Episode 13: The Vegetarians

After their foundation in 1847 and 1850, the vegetarian societies in Britain and America rose swiftly faced new challenges.

Dr Adam Shprintzen, author of the history of US vegetarianism “Vegetarian Crusade, tells Ian how the American Vegetarian Society poured its energies into an anti-slavery vegetarian settlement in the Wild West. And how its founder, Englishman Henry Clubb, ultimately took a bullet for the union in the Civil War.

Under British rule, Hindu vegetarianism faced a mix of threat and opportunity. In India, Ian meets historians DN Jha, Burton Cleetus, and Bhaskar Chakraborty, who explain how, faced with rule by distant Christians, vegetarianism became more important as a marker of caste and identity.

Ian also sets off on a cycle tour of vegetarian Victorian London, and talks to the first modern academic to study vegetarian history – Dr Julia Twigg.

Play or download (58MB MP3 41min) (via iTunes) or read transcript

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Buy Vegetarian History Books

When people  suggest I write a book about the history of vegetarianism, I say that there already are quite a few good books. These are the books on vegetarian history I found most helpful whilst making the series, with Amazon links (that give me a little commission).

Read transcript of Ep 12: Radicals & Romantics

Printed text in English about God and truth

Follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.

Tim Newman:

This is out of its sheath, so it’s just a long thin sword, with a handle that’s wrapped with twine.

Ian McDonald [as narrator]:

The owner has replaced the usual leather grip with something more animal friendly.

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VegHist Ep 12: Radicals & Romantics. Bible Christians, Grahamites, and Transcendentalists; with Adam Shprintzen and Derek Antrobus; at Deerfields, Fruitlands, and Salford

Sheaf of wheat with fruit

In the 1800s, overlapping circles of utopians, mystics, and romantics in both Europe and America develop arguments against meat until “vegetarianism” finally becomes a real movement. 

Episode 12: Radicals & Romantics

In the aftermath of the American and French revolutions, the sects and philosophies that embrace a “vegetable diet” multiply – from ecstatic cult to puritan crusades, to utopian community to public-spirited congregation. No longer are they isolated groups – they connect with each other in books, magazines, and letters. Until a single word catches on – “vegetarianism”.

In the United States of America, Ian discovers the the vegetarian sword and shoes of a 1790s “free love” vegetarian sect in a local Massachusetts museum, and visits the failed vegan commune where Louisa May “Little Women” Alcott lived as a child.

And in Salford, NW England, he walks in the footsteps of a nineteenth century vegetarian church, with local historian Derek Antrobus and the vegetarian history specialist Dr Samantha Calvert.

It’s a story that also takes in the French bohemian “cult of the bearded men”, the man who invented the modern idea of Robin Hood, the woman who invented Frankenstein and his creature, Sylvester Graham, and, finally, the creation of modern vegetarianism.

Play or download (65MB MP3 47min) (via iTunes) or read transcript
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