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(Although Mary Shelley herself was not a vegetarian, her most famous character, the creature of Victor Frankenstein, certainly began as one!) In the months leading up to "Roast Pig," Lamb was fast approaching serious depression.
Shelley's "Vindication of Natural Diet." The disclosure in 1821 of Shelley's authorship of the "Vindication," the appearance in July 1822 of a burlesque by Peacock or Hogg on his vegetarianism, and the unexpected news in August of Shelley's death the previous month, created a context for Lamb's essay as a satire on the vegetarian vogue.
Both Charles and Mary Lamb's struggle with mental instability predisposed them to be acutely offended by Shelley's application of Godwinian perfectibility, his refusal to admit the irremediable imperfection of the human condition, and his proposal of a quixotic panacea.
After the death of his brother John, Lamb complained in a long letter to Wordsworth of "a certain deadness to every thing, which I think I may date from poor John's Loss.
The narrator opens the essay by asserting that for a long period of early human history, people did not cook their meat but ate it raw.
The thing took wing, and now there was nothing to be seen but fires in every direction.
Fuel and pigs grew enormously dear all over the district. People built slighter and slighter every day, until it was feared that the very science of architecture would in no long time be lost to the world.He then goes on to discuss his own preferences in pork products, including a deep distaste for onions as flavoring, and to reminisce about a spice cake.From such beginnings arose our tradition of essay-writing.There is a delusion resulting from the tendency to confound the accidental with the essential—a delusion which the law writers have done their best to extend, and political economists generally have acquiesced in, rather than endeavored to expose—that private property in land is necessary to the proper use of land, and that to make land common property would be to destroy civilization and revert to barbarism.This delusion may be likened to the idea which, according to Charles Lamb, so long prevailed among the Chinese after the savor of roast pork had been accidentally discovered by the burning down of Ho-ti’s hut—that to cook a pig it was necessary to set fire to a house.It was observed that Ho-ti’s cottage was burnt down now more frequently than ever.” Eventually they are discovered, brought to trial, but the jury and judge are all converted to this new pleasure.I actually spent some time reading through the early parts of the Classic of History looking to see if there was, in fact, anything remotely resembling this. 8vo (6 x 8"), pictorial cloth, 62p., cloth slightly darkened on edges else VG . Murray with evocative color illustrations throughout with full partial page pictures engraved by R. The conclusion of the story is so clearly non-Chinese, though, that I didn’t spend a The judge, who was a shrewd fellow, winked at the manifest iniquity of the decision: and, when the court was dismissed, went privily, and bought up all the pigs that could be had for love or money.In a few days his Lordship’s town house was observed to be on fire.