The Ethics of Diet
Front cover of The Ethics of Diet (1883).jpg
AuthorHoward Williams
CountryEngland
LanguageEnglish
SubjectHistory of vegetarianism
PublisherF. Pitman
Publication date
1883 (updated edition, 1896; abridged edition, 1907; new edition, 2003)
Media typePrint
Pages336
OCLC1045396368

The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating is an 1883 book by Howard Williams, on the history of vegetarianism.

Summary

The book tells the history of vegetarianism since the writings of the first Pythagorean philosophers of the Ancient World until the author's time. Among the authors mentioned in the book are: Ovid, Plutarch, Porphyry, Luigi Cornaro, Michel de Montaigne, John Ray, Voltaire, Alexander Pope, Percy Shelley, Alphonse de Lamartine, Joseph Ritson, and Gustav Struve.[1] Not all authors mentioned in the book were vegetarians (Thomas More, for example, was probably not a vegetarian),[2] but they all had critical views of meat-eating.[3]

Reception

The Ethics of Diet has been recognised as providing important momentum for the Victorian vegetarian movement.[4] It was influential for many contemporary leading vegetarians, including Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, Henry Stephens Salt,[5] and Jaime de Magalhães Lima (a Tolstoyan).[6]

Gandhi, who met Williams in Ventnor, wrote in his autobiography:

My faith in vegetarianism grew on me from day to day. Salt's book Plea for Vegetarianism whetted my appetite for dietetic studies. I went in for all books available on vegetarianism and read them. One of these, Howard Williams' The Ethics of Diet, was a 'biographical history of the literature of humane dietetics from the earliest period to the present day'.[7]

Tolstoy considered it an "excellent book",[8]: 83  asserting that "The precise reason why abstinence from animal food will be the first act of fasting and of a moral life is admirably explained in the book, The Ethics of Diet; and not by one man only, but by all mankind in the persons of its best representatives during all the conscious life of humanity."[8]: 91–92  Henry Stephens Salt commented that "Of all recent books on the subject of animals' rights this is by far the most scholarly and exhaustive".[9] Jaime de Magalhães Lima, used Williams' book as a reference to write his 1912 conference O Vegetarismo e a Moralidade das raças.[6]

Editions

In 1892, a Russian translation was published with a foreword by Tolstoy titled "The First Step".[10] A Swedish translation by Victor Pfeiff, was published in Stockholm in 1900.[11]

In 1896, an updated edition appeared with a new title The Ethics of Diet: A Biographical History of the Literature of Human Dietetics, From the Earliest Period to the Present Day[10] and additional material (chapters on Asoka, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry David Thoreau, Richard Wagner, and Anna Kingsford, among others).[12] In 1907, Albert Broadbent published an abridged edition.[13] The book later became a rarity, only available in certain libraries.[14]

In 2003, the University of Illinois Press published a new edition of the book, edited by the ecofeminist author Carol J. Adams, with an additional introduction.[15] Adams describes Williams' book as successfully managing to "reinstate vegetarianism as an ethical imperative within history by giving it a history".[16]

References

  1. ^ Original edition: Williams, Howard (1883). The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating. London: F. Pitman.
    2003 edition: Williams, Howard (May 2003) [1883]. The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating (includes the revisions and expansions of the 1896 edition). Introduction by Carol J. Adams (Illinois ed.). University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252071300.
  2. ^ "History of Vegetarianism: Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)". International Vegetarian Union (IVU). Retrieved 21 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ See, for example Jean Jacques Rousseau, George Louis Le Clerc de Buffon, Lord Byron and Arthur Schopenhauer
  4. ^ Gregerson, Jon (1994). Vegetarianism: A History. Fremont, Calif.: Jain Pub. Co. p. 78. ISBN 0-87573-030-2. OCLC 30073027. Not unimportant in the momentum gathered by the Vegetarian Movement in late Victorian England was a book by one Howard Williams entitled The Ethics of Diet, which was published in 1890.
  5. ^ Calvert, Samantha Jane (June 2012). Eden's Diet: Christianity and Vegetarianism 1809–2009 (PDF) (PhD thesis). University of Birmingham.
  6. ^ a b Lima, Jaime de Magalhães (1912). O Vegetarismo e a Moralidade das Raças. Sociedade Vegetariana.
  7. ^ Mohandas Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth, Part I, chapter XV.
  8. ^ a b Tolstoy, Leo (1911). Essays and Letters. Translated by Maude, Aylmer. University of California Libraries. London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  9. ^ Salt, Henry Stephens; Leffingwell, Albert (1894). Animals' Rights: Considered in Relation to Social Progress. New York, London: Macmillan & Co. p. 128.
  10. ^ a b "The Ethics of Diet - A Catena". International Vegetarian Union (IVU). Retrieved 21 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Williams, Howard (1900). Vegetarismen såsom lifsåskådning hos några dess förnämsta förkämpar i såväl gamla som nyare tider (in Swedish). Translated by Pfeiff, Victor. Stockholm: Wilhelmsson. OCLC 186140665.
  12. ^ Williams, Howard (1896). The Ethics of Diet: A Biographical History of the Literature of Human Dietetics, From the Earliest Period to the Present Day.
  13. ^ "The Ethics of Diet by Howard Williams". The London Quarterly Review. 6 (108): 18. 1907.
  14. ^ "The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-Eating". UI Press. Retrieved 21 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Ethical Eating". Gastronomica. 4 (4): 104–105. 1 November 2004. doi:10.1525/gfc.2004.4.4.104. ISSN 1529-3262.
  16. ^ Williams, Howard (2003). Adams, Carol J. (ed.). The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02851-1. OCLC 50773643.

Further reading