Saturday, May 5, 2012

"He also liked to lick tree sap"

On the dietary habits of the Romantic poets (really, just read the entire thing):
Wordsworth paid scant attention to gustatory matters [...] He did, however, accept edible gifts from admirers, and was once given an entire calf’s head. [...]

Two decades of opium addiction wreaked havoc on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s digestion (one of its chief side-effects was an awful, binding constipation). Subject to frequent and recurring “bowel attacks” that made him “weep and sweat and moan and scream,” he was off solid food for weeks at a time, and accordingly ate a lot of broth. He even dabbled in vegetarianism for a while, but believed it gave him insomnia. When he was well, Coleridge loved to go out to dinner [...] he could also be a handful. At one dinner party, encouraged by the host, he smashed a window and several wine glasses, and started pitching the cutlery at the tumblers. Coleridge particularly loved apple dumplings.

[...] Lord Byron, scarred by being a “fat school-boy,” had transformed himself into a “leguminous-eating Ascetic” by the time he went up to Cambridge in 1805. But the fat wanted him, and he spent his entire life dieting, caught up in a vomitous cycle of binge and purge, fasting all week and then gorging himself on “a pint of bucelles [Portuguese wine] and fish.” [...] Byron rarely accepted dinner invitations and claimed to be especially repulsed by the sight of women eating [...]
Elsewhere: Jonathon Green on gin-talk, includes revelation that "Piss quick – either from its resemblance to urine or its possible micturative effects – is gin mixed with marmalade topped up with boiling water."

Blogging has been light partly because of impending defense on Wednesday and partly because I have been warding off anxiety by taking on as much work as I can find. (I have between ten and thirteen projects "on the go" at the moment; one paper just finished and arxived...) After the defense I shall have a fairly untrammeled summer; the only pre-move travel is a trip to NYC and Princeton ca. June 9-14.

1 comment:

Jenny Davidson said...

Hmmmm, it may not be a practical plan, but it might be that we should find a bar in NYC in June in which to celebrate your defense with gin and marmalade, which seems to me an inspired combination...