Friday, December 2, 2011

Aimless Reading: The P's, Part 36.1 (Plutarch)


No idea where I got this. It's in terrible shape, has highlighting all over it. I would never have bought it like this, and I would never have highlighted it so. This leads me to believe that I bought it online and that whoever sold it to me described it incorrectly. This might all be made up. I have no way to know.

from The Essays

from On the Eating of Flesh

You ask of me then for what reason it was that Pythagoras abstained from eating of flesh. I for my part do much wonder in what humor, with what soul or reason, the first man with his mouth touched slaughter, and reached to his lips the flesh of a dead animal, and having set before people courses of ghastly corpses and ghosts, could give those parts the names of meat and victuals, that but a little before lowed, cried, moved, and saw; how his sight could endure the blood of slaughtered, flayed, and mangled bodies; how his smell could bear their scent; and how the very nastiness happened not to offend the taste, while it chewed the sores of others, and participated of the saps and juices of deadly wounds.

Crept the raw hides, and with a bellowing sound
Roared the dead limbs; the burning entrails groaned.
(“Odyssey,” xii. 395.)

This indeed is but a fiction and fancy; but the fare itself is truly monstrous and prodigious,— that a man should have a stomach to creatures while they yet bellow, and that he should be giving directions which of things yet alive and speaking is fittest to make food of, and ordering the several kinds of the seasoning and dressing them and serving them up to tables. You ought rather, in my opinion, to have inquired who first began this practice, than who of late times left it off.

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