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Read transcript of Ep 11: Enlightenment

Old English handwriting, protesting the death of a deer.

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

[Traffic and building noise]

Ian McDonald [in Paris]:

We’re in the courtyard of the brick and stone baroque Hotel Tubeuf in Paris, now being renovated as the headquarters of the National Library of France.

But from here the French East India Company in the 18th Century controls swathes of India, unwittingly connecting the ideas of ahimsa and vegetarianism with the Paris of Voltaire and Rousseau.

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VegHist Ep 11: Enlightenment. Colonial India, Voltaire, Rousseau, and the French Revolution; with Partha Chatterjee, Christophe Martin, and Renan Larue; at the Black Hole of Calcutta, and Musée Rousseau Montmerency

18th century painting of a Hindu temple amongst Banyan trees

The philosophers of Paris discuss reports of Indian vegetarianism, question the morality of eating animals, and inspire radicals who preach vegetarianism from the barricades of the French revolution.

Episode 11: Enlightenment

Ian traces a winding path of vegetarian inspiration from the personal diary of an Indian vegetarian working for the French, to the darkest corner of British imperial propaganda, to the Enlightenment’s favourite Paris café, to a rural retreat that inspired a social revolution, and to the squares where citizens plotted a real one.

Play or download (61MB MP3 43min) (via iTunes) or read transcript
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Read transcript of Ep 10: Revolution

Old printed text introducing "A treatise of most sorts of ENGLISH HERBS"

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

[Sound of birds]

Sherwin Everett:

This is an Indian flapshell turtle. And it was run over by a car.

Ian [to Everett]:

Oh my goodness. So it survived.


So it’s got a crack half way down the shell. We’ve done a wiring. We drilled holes alongside the crack. And so the screws [go] into that. [voice fades to background]

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VegHist Ep 10: Revolution. English civil war, diet gurus, and the poetry of Sensibility; with Tristram Stuart and Anita Guerrini; at the Ahmedabad Panjrapole

Various eighteenth century books including an illustrated title page of "The English Hermit" and a discourse on "Sallets" (Salads)

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.

Play or download (62MB MP3 44min) (via iTunes) or read transcript
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Read transcript of Ep 9: Renaissance

Angled close up of title of old printed work in Latin

Alternatively, follow this link to hear the episode & read the show notes. Transcription by Amy Carpenter.

[A woman sings passionately in Italian, backed by a Renaissance orchestra. Continues in background]

Ian McDonald:

Prosperina, the Queen of Hades, is swayed by the singing of Orpheus and begs Hades to return his wife, in Monteverdi’s 1607 opera.

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