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The Ethics Of Diet - An Anthology of Vegetarian Thought - Howard Williams

The Ethics Of Diet - An Anthology of Vegetarian Thought

By: Howard Williams, Leo Tolstoy (Introduction by)

Hardcover Published: 1st March 2010
ISBN: 9781907661174
Number Of Pages: 312

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This book is a history of vegetarianism as told through the writings of some of history's great thinkers and writers. The author Howard Williams travels back in time to Antiquity and from there moves through the centuries all the way up to his contemporaries in the 19th century. Leo Tolstoy was impressed with 'The Ethics of Diet'; he had it translated into his native Russian and wrote the narrative for the Russian edition.

Throughout the ages, many of the world's finest minds detested the eating of flesh and the cruelty that humans inflict on their fellow creatures. Buddha advocated a vegetarian diet for his monks and stated: ""There hath been slaughter for the sacrifice, and slaying for the meat, but henceforth none shall spill the blood of life, nor taste of flesh; seeing that knowledge grows and life is one, and mercy cometh to the merciful."" Pythagoras abstained from eating meat around the age of nineteen as he believed that abstaining from flesh kept the soul pure. Lamblichus, who studied Pythagoras stated that the great mathematician; "Enjoyed abstinence from the flesh of animals, because it is conducive to peace; for those who are accustomed to abominate the slaughter of other animals as iniquitous and unnatural, will think it still more unjust and unlawful to kill a man or to engage in war."" Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher said; ""Since compassion for animals is so intimately associated with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that whoever is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."" Plutarch, Seneca, Plato, Shelley and Wagner all grace these pages and many more... Thoreau observes, ""One farmer says to me, ""You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;"" and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plough along in spite of every obstacle.""

ISBN: 9781907661174
ISBN-10: 1907661174
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 1st March 2010
Publisher: White Crow Books
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 14.0 x 21.6  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.53

Leo Tolstoy


About the Author


Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.

Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.

Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”

Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.

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