- Hardcover: 3 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon (July 7, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394579844
- ISBN-13: 978-0394579849
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,432,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
TASTES OF PARADISE Hardcover – July 7, 1992
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
This "social history of spices, stimulants and intoxications" covers the Middle Ages to the modern era from the perch of an adroit and amiable Marxist sociology. For instance, at its European debut in the 17th-century coffeehouse, coffee officiated at the rise of the bourgeois technocrat; the brew's displacement from the coffeehouse to the home in the following century, the author argues, is a measure of the assimilation of bourgeois consciousness at the private hearth. Schivelbusch ( Disenchanted Night ) touches briefly on the pharmacological properties of coffee, chocolate, tea, tobacco, hashish, opium and alcoholic compounds, but his chief interest lies not in their chemical effect but in what society has construed them to do. The "dry" stimulant coffee was a prop or centerpiece in the bourgeois's sense of self; chocolate, associated with sensuality and taken while reclining, similarly served the aristocracy, until the engines of history relegated it to children. Although Schivelbusch is scholarly, he chooses not to burden us with reiterated evidence but to summarize the points of an apparently established record; his book is eloquent. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA-- A lavishly illustrated, anecdotal survey of all of the substances we chew, drink, or inhale for pleasure and how they were discovered and adopted by humankind. The book shows in fascinating detail how each stimulant, spice, or intoxicant served a particular need for an individual culture and how each, in turn, affected that culture and its behavioral norms. There is no index, but the table of contents is extensive, making it both an effective research tool and an enjoyable source of recreational reading.
- Richard Lisker, Fairfax Public Library, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Rather then simply understanding coffee, tea and tobacco from the commercial point of view (though Schivelbusch does examine this as well as the relationship between East and West in terms of trade and production), his main concern is to look at how coffee and tea functioned ideologically and socially in terms of promoting a specific protestant and middle class view of the world.
Turning from the beer and ale of the Middle Ages and Renaissance working classes and the inebriated state that often followed a day of drinking (remembering that water was not drunk to quench thirst in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance – it was dangerous – so beer/ale was not only drunk to stave off thirst but to provide much needed calories for workers and soldiers – he discusses the popular “beer soup” as an example), the rising middle classes, the bourgeoisie, embraced coffee and tea as “their” drink. As Schivelbusch argues, “Coffee… spread through the body and achieved chemically and pharmacologically what rationalism and the Protestant ethic sought to fulfil spiritually and ideologically. With coffee, the principle of rationality entered human physiology…”
So, not only did coffee become a class-based drink, it was also associated with a religious and aesthetic viewpoint as well.
Not at first. At first, coffee, tea and chocolate drinking were regarded as part of the cult of luxury and only available to those with the means to consume them. It was only later that it became the drink of rationality and conviction and thus spread through the middle classes – familiarity breeding not contempt but desire. Likewise, with tea. Chocolate didn’t fair so well being regarded a bit more suspiciously and as a drink associated with idleness and decadence.
While women in public consumed none of the drinks when they first became available, over time tea particularly became very domesticated and even feminised. Chocolate drinking also became something women did in private, and bore connotations of sexual liberty and naughtiness, partly to do with the idea it had aphrodisiac qualities. Women who drank it were viewed with a jaundiced and unrespectable eye - something that changed when chocolate became mass-produced and women were used in advertising and targeted as the major market.
Schivelbusch also discusses the role of coffee houses and chocolate ones too, especially in England. How they became places where, unlike taverns and inns, conversation was sober and robust. Men of business (not aristocrats necessarily) could meet and discuss daily news, politics and generally gossip. Various coffee houses became so renown for this, they also had strong ties with either the newly emerging Whig or Tory parties. They developed reputations as hotbeds of potential coups. They also became closely identified with particular types of business – for example, Lloyd’s Coffee House was the place where maritime folk met – sailors, captains, sea-venturing business people met, especially those who functioned as underwriters and insurance brokers. Of course, Lloyd’s eventually evolved into the now famous Lloyd’s of London. Men chose carefully which coffee house they entered, and thus the establishment and the beverage served all became strongly associated with self-definition.
While Shivelbusch’s research is wide-ranging and impressive, it’s his discussions of the social role of human consumption of substances like beer, tea, coffee, chocolate, gin, opium and tobacco that are this book’s strength. Written in the 1970s, so much of what it uncovers is so relevant – the rituals around alcoholic drinking, the bar as a public meeting place where strangers can converse and rounds are bought and what this all signifies – is all very strong. It’s when he discusses various opiates, other drugs and even tobacco in the contemporary setting that the age of the book shows, but this should not deter a reader. Instead, it’s easy to fill in the gaps which demonstrates how important all these things – drugs, stimulants and various other intoxicants – liquid and non-liquid – are in society even today. We all have an opinion on their role and how and where they should be consumed and by whom.
A gem of a book that was an easy and fascinating read. Highly recommended.
The author does an excellent job of noting how coffee and the symbolic overtones it took functioned during the early modern period. However, he doesn't seem to know that even today coffee is known to have the side effects attributed to it then. He attributes qualities like "drying", etc, to symbolic or misinformed aspects of the humoral philosophy of medicine, and hypothesizes that "dryness" was attributed to coffee perhaps because it was roasted.
Well, while the humoral system was so flawed that that it was laughable, it wasn't entirely wrong. Coffee does dehydrate people. It does cause severe health issues today, and doctors tell people to stop drinking it or reduce intake for many of the same reasons. The terminology was different, but the observations were actually fairly accurate. I agree with the author that coffee was highly contested for socio-religio-political reasons and that the health issues were used to that end, but the author is wrong several times when he reduces those health effects to ONLY symbolic. They were both.
I'm actually hoping he resolves this a bit later. Sometimes people can come off heavy in an argument at one point in a text, and then modify that perspective later. This reader looks forward to finding out and if she finds it to be so, will alter her review accordingly.