Paris: Sautelet et Cie. 1826.
Two volumes, octavo, xiv, 390 & 449 pages. contemporary quarter calf and marbled boards Light wear at extremities, otherwise in very good condition. 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. The book is a comprehensive philosophy of the palate and of the table, and far beyond, presented in a series of thirty meditations on subjects such as 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. The charming American writer and translator of Brillat-Savarin, M.F.K. Fisher commends the work 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. [Cagle 98; Crahan 491; Oberle 144; Vicaire 116; Wheaton & Kelly 860].