Paris: Sautelet et Cie. 1826.
Two volumes, octavo, xiv, 390 & 449 pages. FIRST EDITION of the most famous treatise on gastronomy. The Physiology of Taste was published in an edition of 500 copies, appearing only two months after the author's death. A comprehensive philosophy of the palate, the table, and far beyond, the book is presented in a series of thirty meditations on subjects including the senses, taste, appetite, gastronomy, restaurateurs, cooking, fasting, obesity, death, sleep, rest and dreams. Brillat-Savarin was an attorney and magistrate who fled France during the Terror, living in Switzerland and New York until his return after the fall of Robespierre in 1796. The present work secured his eternal fame among gastronomes. M.F.K. Fisher – whose translation of Brillat-Savarin's work still stands as the best – commends this book for its straightforward and unornamented prose in an era of florid writing, but the intellectual range and invention of the work is anything but simple. At the very outset: "1. The Universe is nothing without the things that live in it, and everything that lives eats. 2. Animals feed themselves; men eat; but only wise men know the art of eating. 3. The destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves." It may be noted that Brillat-Savarin regularly refers to his gastronomic experience in America. Contemporary quarter calf and marbled boards Light wear at extremities, otherwise in very good condition. [Cagle 98; Crahan 491; Oberle 144; Vicaire 116; Wheaton & Kelly 860].