“ANIMALS FEED, MEN NOURISH THEMSELVES; ONLY MEN OF DISTINCTION KNOW HOW TO EAT”: FIRST EDITION IN SPANISH, AND THE FIRST TRANSLATION IN ANY LANGUAGE, OF BRILLAT-SAVARIN'S PHYSIOLOGY OF TASTE, 1852
BRILLAT-SAVARIN, Jean Anthelme. Fisiología del Gusto. Mexico City: Juan R. Navarro, 1852. Large octavo, contemporary half black morocco, raised bands, patterned cloth boards, marbled endpapers. $4200.
First edition in Spanish—and the first translation in any language—of “the most famous book in gastronomy,” with engraved portrait of the author and in-text wood-engraved headpieces and illustrations after those in the 1826 French first edition.
"One of the most witty discussions on food ever written… The work is filled with entertaining anecdotes and commentary on good eating, including several pages of impressions about the United States" (Feret, 38). Brillat-Savarin fled to the United States after the Revolution, only to return to France in 1797 and secure an appointment to the Supreme Court of Appeal. While he held that post until he died, his greatest passions were exercised in his leisure time. Brillat-Savarin wrote extensive treatises on art, culture, science, and, of course, gastronomy. His appreciation for restaurants was virtually unparalleled and he was known for throwing elaborate dinner parties at his home in Paris. He was known for his tuna omelette, stuffed pheasant garnished with oranges, and fillet of beef with truffles. In 1825, just two months before his death, this work was published. It made him the most famous gastronomist of the day and he became known as the ultimate authority on food and dining. The initial 500 copies of the French first edition immediately sold out and the book has never been out of print since then. Includes histories of cooking, gourmands, coffee and chocolate, international specialties, a study of obesity, and more. Text in Spanish. This Mexican Spanish-language edition precedes the first American edition, issued in 1854, as well as the first Spanish edition, which did not appear until 1869. Cagle 1199. Gernon, Une Affaire de Goût 138. Bookbinder label on front pastedown.
Discoloration to blank verso of frontispiece; bit of scuffing to spine ends. An extremely good copy, scarce.