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The evolution of ideas about vegetarianism in British literature in the Late 18th Early 19th Century (a case of An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food, as a Moral Duty by J. Ritson, Queen Mab and A Vindication of Natural Diet by P.B. Shelley)

Kolosova Ekaterina Igorevna

ORCID: 0000-0003-1333-9129

Junior researcher, Literary Studies Department, Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences

117418, Russia, Moscow, Nakhimovsky Prospekt str., 51/21

kolosova@inion.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.10.54686

EDN:

WLNEMD

Received:

06-10-2023


Published:

13-10-2023


Abstract: The article examines the literary representation of the topic of vegetarianism in the works of British writers in the Late 18th Early 19th Century. English sugar merchant, author of popular self-help books Thomas Tryon was one of the first to propose the concept of vegetarianism, which was new to his contemporaries. His works, like those of his followers, inspired Joseph Ritson and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Joseph Ritson in his essay An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food, as a Moral Duty (1802) summarizes the experience of his predecessors and proposes an original concept of vegetarianism, close to the romantic philosophy. P. B. Shelley used Ritson's ideas in his philosophical poem Queen Mab (1813) and his essay A Vindication of Natural Diet (1813). The article presents the results of a productive dialogue between intellectuals of the Enlightenment (such as T. Tryon and G. Cheyne) and J. Ritson. This influenced the further development of the philosophy of vegetarianism in European culture. Thus, the poet of the romantic era P.B. Shelley, inspired by Ritson's essay, rethought his ideas in his own way and presented them in his works.


Keywords:

vegetarianism, Joseph Ritson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Enlightenment, romanticism, Thomas Tryon, George Cheyne, British literature, XVIII century, Queen Mab

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

The topic of vegetarianism in Western culture is actualized at the turn of the XVIIXVIII centuries, although the benefits of a plant-based diet were noted by ancient thinkers and Italian humanists. The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras and his followers called for the rejection of sacrifices and meat-eating, considering it necessary to eat only thermally unprocessed foods. Then Porphyry turned to the experience of Pythagoras in his treatise "On Abstinence from animal food" (Latin: De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium) in it the Phoenician philosopher called for strict asceticism and humanity towards all living beings. However, following the researcher M. Jeanneret, we note that the rejection of animal food, which was practiced by Porphyry or Plutarch, was not fully accepted by their contemporaries [10, p. 214]. The researcher also notes that even later, among Italian humanists, the special value of plant food did not always entail a radical rejection of meat. Using the example of satirical dialogues from the book "Conversations Easily" (Colloquia familiaria, 1518) by the Dutch philosopher, thinker Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), the moral beliefs of the French theologian and pastor of the Protestant Reformation J. Calvin (1509-1564), etc., the researcher proves that vegetarianism in the Renaissance taught moderation and reverence for the fruits bestowed by Nature, but at the same time this was not considered outside the religious context.

The situation changes at the turn of the XVIIXVIII centuries, when the topic of vegetarianism is again actualized and ceases to be exclusively a religious practice. Thanks to the works of the Scottish physician George Cheyne (1672-1743), the positive effect of a plant-based diet on the human body began to be seriously discussed in the scientific community. The results of his research are reflected in such works as "An Essay on Health and Long Life" (An Essay of Health and Long Life, 1724), "An Essay on Regimen" (An Essay on Regimen, 1740) and "A Natural method of treating diseases of the human body and mental disorders associated with the body" (The Natural Method of Curing the Diseases of the human Body, and the Disorders of the Mind attending on the Body, 1742). The most famous was the "Essay on Health and Longevity" [8], in which Cheney, based on cases from his medical practice, formulated the principles of a diet (assuming a vegetarian type of diet) that promises longevity to a person. So, by 1730-1740, the British medical community highly appreciated the results of Cheney's innovative nutrition system.

The topic of vegetarianism was also addressed by a religious activist-vegetarian of the XVII century. Roger Crab (1621-1680), English entrepreneur, writer T. Tryon (Thomas Tryon, 1634-1703), English writer A. Pope (Alexander Pope, 1688-1744) and other enlighteners. Later, at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries, this phenomenon begins to be understood in a new way by writers, poets and scientists. The purpose of this article is to discover the reasons why the topic of vegetarianism is of interest to British writers of the XVIIIXIX centuries (first of all, J. Ritson and P.B. Shelley), as well as to analyze their philosophical concepts in which vegetarianism occupies a special place. In order to reveal this phenomenon, it is necessary to refer to the treatise of the English writer, antiquarian Joseph Ritson (1752-1803) "Essay on Abstinence from Animal food as a Moral Duty" (An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food, as a Moral Duty, 1802). As will be further shown in the article, this work largely influenced the work of the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). It is known that a copy of the "Essay" was kept in the poet's personal library [11, p. 54], and he relied on the theses expressed by Ritson when he worked on his first poem "Queen Mab" (Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem, 1813) and the essay "Justification of the Natural Diet" (A Vindication of Natural Diet, 1813).

The productive "dialogue" between J. Ritson and P.B. Shelley, which largely determined the further development of the philosophy of vegetarianism in European culture, in our opinion, should be analyzed on the material of Ritson's "Essay on Abstinence from animal Food as a moral Duty", Shelley's philosophical poem "Queen Mab" and his essay "Justification of a Natural diet", using cultural-historical and descriptive methods. Earlier in Russian literary studies, no attempts were made to consider the topic of vegetarianism in the literature of Great Britain at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries, and this lacuna creates the need for a closer study of this topic.

"Essay on abstinence from animal food as a moral duty" by J. Ritson

One of the first vegetarian activists widely popularizing this idea was the English writer and antiquarian Joseph Ritson. He came to the idea of his vegetarianism after meeting in the "Fable of The Bees" (The Fable of The Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits, 1714) by the English philosopher and satirical writer Bernard de Mandeville (1670-1733), which the writer read in 1772, at the age of 19. In 1802, the English publisher Sir Richard Phillips (1767-1840) who also advocated vegetarianism published "An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food as a Moral Duty" (An Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food, as a Moral Duty, 1802) [13], which refers to mature creativity Ritson. In this work, the writer summarizes numerous examples and arguments against eating animal meat, considering this problem from an ethical, moral, psychological, cultural and practical point of view. In the first chapter of his work, Ritson explores human nature through the prism of the achievements of classical philosophy. Based on the philosophical theories of ancient thinkers and poets (Homer, Hesiod, Lucretius, Pythagoras, Ovid, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, etc.), he defines the key difference between man and animal. Thus, in the ancient poems of Homer (first of all, in the Iliad) and the tragedy of Euripides "Melanippe the Prisoner", he was attracted by the idea that the soul gives life to a person and determines his actions in the physical world [13, p. 5-11], but the writer did not limit himself to this his attention was also attracted by more consistent concepts of personality that were developed in post-Homeric Greece. Having subjected the corpus of ancient texts to a thorough analysis, Ritson concluded that the main achievement of ancient philosophy was the idea that the human body and soul cannot exist in isolation from each other [13, p. 12]. This was the starting point in building his own concept of vegetarianism.

Another significant element in Ritson's theory was the difference between primitive man and an individual living in a civil society, which was proposed by the Franco-Swiss philosopher and thinker of the Enlightenment, J.-J. Rousseau (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778) in the treatise "Discourses on the origin of Inequality" (Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'in?galit? parmi les hommes, 1755). However, if Rousseau saw the root of vices and social injustice in a person's ability to self-improvement, Ritson looks at this phenomenon differently. In his opinion, only self-improvement can eradicate cruelty and evil, which by definition is present in human nature [13, pp. 20-21]. Concluding his discussion of man, Ritson agrees with the Scottish historian and encyclopedist William Smellie (1740-1795) and gives an extensive quote from his Philosophy of Natural History (1779): "Of all predatory animals, man is the most universal destroyer. The destruction of carnivorous quadrupeds, birds and insects, as a rule, is limited to individual species. But human greed has almost no limits. His power over other animals inhabiting the globe is almost limitless. Some animals, such as a horse, a dog, a cat, he makes domestic slaves; and, although none of these species are eaten in this country, a person either forces them to work for himself or uses them as sources of pleasure and entertainment. From other quadrupeds, such as bulls, sheep, goats and deer, he derives countless advantages ..." [13, p. 15].

Ritson devotes the second and ninth chapters of his "Essay" to a more detailed consideration of the benefits of a vegetarian diet. In them, the writer relies on the works of George Cheney [8] and Thomas Tryon [16] thinkers who considered the rejection of animal food, among other things, also a religious practice. However, Ritson, being an atheist, emphasizes the positive impact of a vegetarian diet on human physical health, which these thinkers have previously noted. For example, he explains the high infant mortality rate in 1800, which was recorded in mortality statistics, by "untimely and unnatural consumption of animal food" [13, p. 147]. In the same respect, Ritson recalls the "golden age of centenarians", primitive Christians, as well as Tahitians who ate exclusively plant foods and did not even think about consuming meat [2, pp. 165-167]. Summarizing the results of his research, Ritson came to the conclusion that the golden age was not a specific historical time and did not depend on any religion, but was characterized by a special, harmonious state of mind [13, pp. 170-171].

Turning to the social aspect of the vegetarian diet, following Cheney, Ritson proves that the yeomen's diet had a positive effect on their physical health, providing endurance and strength, although their diet was not diverse: "their main diet consisted of potatoes, milk and oatmeal ..." [13, p. 194]. Discussing the current situation of agriculture, Ritson argues that despite the improvements in this area of the English economy, England, nevertheless, is not ready to provide food to more people than before, because meat production requires larger territories [13, pp. 84-85].

The most significant argument against eating meat for Ritson himself is that "eating animal food sets a person up for cruelty and ferocious acts" [13, p. 86]. Illustrating the vices of meat-eating, he gives numerous examples from the life of primitive peoples and tribes, but the writer was not interested in the dry comparison of primitive man with civilized. Anthropological excursions lead the author of the "Essay" to a number of curious conclusions: for example, if contemporaries wrote that animal sacrifices once replaced human sacrifice, Ritson went further, suggesting that the clergy allegedly accidentally tasted animal meat during the ritual action and, having fallen in love with the taste of animal flesh, could not resist their own bloodlust [13, p. 124]. This conclusion reveals Ritson's anticlericalism, which extends not only to Christianity, but also to any existing religion as a whole.

Despite the fact that the "Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food as a moral duty" is a collection of a variety of philosophical concepts and views, including descriptions of religious practices or attempts to discover the essence of class inequality through meat-eating, Ritson himself was most concerned about the cruelty of human nature. The rejection of meat, in his view, should first of all become an intellectual effort, a victory of the mind over the body, which will subsequently lead humanity into a state of harmony.

The theme of vegetarianism in the works of P.B. Shelley: the philosophical poem "Queen Mab" and the essay "Justification of a natural diet"

Eleven years later, these ideas of Ritson were used by the romantic poet Percy Bish Shelley when working on the philosophical poem "Queen Mab" (1813) [15], as well as in the essay "Justification of a natural diet" (1813) [14]. Initially, it was assumed that this essay would become part of the notes to the poem, but in the process of publication, the poet decided to publish the essay separately.

The plot of the poem "Queen Mab" is based on the description of the journey of the soul of Ianthe and Queen Mab to the heavenly palace at the edge of the Universe, where magical entities show the Soul the past, present and future. The queen, fairies, phantoms and other magical characters offer various solutions to social problems and the eradication of evil from human nature, which invariably causes him to come into conflict with nature. One of the ways out of the vicious circle is to stop eating meat. In the seventh part of the poem, the Fairy summons the ghost of Ahashverosh, a Jew who paid with his life for his religion. The soul wonders if God really exists, and Ahashverosh told her his story. He begins the story with the story of the Titans and speaks of a "vengeful and omnipotent god, whose voice once shook the Earth":

Abhorrence, and the grave of Nature yawned

To swallow all the dauntless and the good

That dared to hurl defiance at his throne [15, p. 241]

The image of the ancient deity merges with the image of Nature absorbing those who dared to rebel against it, which is supported by the description of human sacrifices performed by the "surviving slaves" [15, p. 241]. Then Akhashverosh brings pagan sacrifices closer to religious warriors and the willingness of Christians to fight for their faith to the last drop of blood. In essence, the Jew does not believe that God could require a person to commit violence against his fellow men in order to prove his loyalty this person began to hide his crimes behind a mask of religiosity.

The eighth part of the poem opens with the image of "half-eaten babies", which Time must revive:

Now, Spirit, learn, The secrets of the future.

-Time! Unfold the brooding pinion of thy gloom,

Render thee up thy half-devoured babes [15, p. 248]

In this part, attention is drawn to the fact that the future, in addition to love and freedom, also promises health (Love, freedom, health). This turns out to be consonant with the ancient Greek (for example, Pythagorean) view of the role of nutrition. The main function of the diet in Greek culture was to strengthen the physical body both to improve the mind and to maintain a harmonious relationship with wildlife.

The idea of the harmony of the Earth and humanity is also heard in "Queen Mab". Thus, in the process of moral transformation, animals forget about their animal nature, and people become even more humane towards them and each other. Nature itself seems to be rethinking in the transformation of humanity, but this process is possible only if a person overcomes vices and cruelty in himself with a strong-willed effort:

The lion now forgets to thirst for blood;

There might you see him sporting in the sun

Beside the dreadless kid; his claws are sheathed,

His teeth are harmless, customs force has made

His nature as the nature of a lamb. [15, pp. 251-252]

In the finale of the eighth part of the poem, Shelley raises the problem of social inequality. He still sees its origins only in the indomitable human cruelty, which was the result of a violation of the law of Nature.:

Immortal upon earth; no longer now

He slays the lamb that looks him in the face,

And horribly devours his mangled flesh,

Which, still avenging Nature's broken law [15, p. 254]

But Shelley believes in human correction. The eighth part ends with a hope in the omnipotence of reason ("All power is in the omnipotence of reason, which extracts the pearl of truth from darkness"). It is intellectual effort and awareness of one's depravity that can limit a person in his harmful habits. Shelley discusses this in even more detail in The Justification of the Natural Diet [14].

Shelley begins his essay with the following statement: "I believe that the depravity of a person's physical and moral nature stems from his unnatural life habits" [14, p. 9]. Relying on the Newtonian (John Frank Newton, 1767-1837) interpretation of the myth, Shelley cites the example of the defender of people from the arbitrariness of the gods Prometheus, who (representing the human race) applied fire to cooking and, thereby, showed how to hide the "taste of decomposing flesh" [14, p. 11]. From that moment on, the "vulture of the disease" began to devour his organs. Along with meat-eating, tyranny, superstition and social inequality came into human life.

Diseases that haunt humanity also spread, according to Shelley, to domestic animals: "The bison and the wolf are completely free from disease and invariably die either from external violence or from natural old age. But the domestic pig, sheep, cow and dog are subject to an incredible variety of diseases; and, as for the molesters of their nature, there are doctors who succeed in these adversities" [14, p. 9]. Summarizing all the negative consequences of meat-eating and cruelty in general, the poet calls for an uprising against the system of oppression, which is intertwined "with all the fibers of human existence" [14, p. 12]. First of all, according to Shelley, the rebellion should be expressed in the rejection of animal food and alcohol. Like Ritson, the poet calls for an intellectual effort, a "decisive experiment" [14, p. 13] on his will. However, Shelley considered it impossible to harm living beings, and considered eating flesh as the embodiment of the moral degeneracy of humanity Ritson did not have these ethical grounds for turning to vegetarianism. Following his predecessor, Shelley also pays attention to the aspect of social inequality, although he considers this problem from a different angle: "No one can be trusted with power (and money is the most powerful type of power) who does not undertake to use it exclusively for common benefit. But the consumption of animal meat and alcoholic beverages directly contradicts this equality of human rights. A peasant cannot satisfy these fashionable cravings without leaving his family to starve... The peasantry works not only for themselves, but also for the aristocracy" [14, p. 12].

In the final essay, Shelley warns that one should not expect quick results from switching to a plant-based diet, since an instant return to nature is unable to eradicate those harmful habits overnight that have been strengthening unhindered for centuries. Nevertheless, the poet is convinced that from the moment of abandoning everything unnatural, no new diseases will arise, and the predisposition to hereditary diseases will gradually disappear from human nature.

Conclusion

Analyzing the "Essay on abstinence from animal food as a moral duty" by J. Ritson, the philosophical poem "Queen Mab" by P.B. Shelley and his essay "Justification of a natural diet", we see that the productive "dialogue" of intellectuals of the Enlightenment (such as T. Tryon and J. Cheney) and the writer of the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries. Ritson influenced the further development of the philosophy of vegetarianism in European culture. Ritson was one of the first who began to consider vegetarianism outside of a religious context, focusing on the health-improving effect of plant foods on the human body, as well as on the social significance of this type of nutrition. Ritson's main moral thesis against meat-eating was that the consumption of animal food affects human behavior and encourages violent acts. The romantic poet P.B. Shelley, inspired by the "Essay" of his predecessor, reinterpreted the ideas set out in the work in his own way, and then presented his views on the politically and philosophically significant practice of abstinence from animal food in the Queen of Mab, as well as in the essay "Justification of a Natural diet". Vegetarianism in Shelley's philosophical concept becomes a "tool", a weapon in the fight against social injustice, as well as a way to achieve moral perfection and harmony.

In conclusion, we note that the topic of vegetarianism in British literature at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries is poorly studied by domestic researchers, however, the article attempts to give a general description of this phenomenon on specific literary examples, as well as outline prospects for further research. In addition, the works of the writers mentioned in the article (R. Crabbe, T. Tryon, A. Pope, etc.) concerning the topic of vegetarianism can also be taken into account by researchers of British literature of the XVIIXIX centuries and reflected in Russian literary criticism.

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First Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The article submitted for consideration is "The idea of vegetarianism at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries. (on the example of the work of J. Ritson and P.B. Shelley)", proposed for publication in the journal "Litera", is undoubtedly relevant, due to the author's reference to the peculiarities of popularization of vegetarianism in the works of fiction of the period under consideration. The author turns to the dialogue of intellectuals of the Enlightenment era (such as T. Tryon and J. Cheney) and the writer of the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries J. Ritson, who influenced the further development of the philosophy of vegetarianism in European culture. It should be noted that there is a relatively small number of studies on this topic in Russian linguistics. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian linguistics devoted to the study of such issues. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. The volume of the actual language corpus of the study is not at all clear from the text of the article. What is the volume of the language corpus and by what methods did the author process it? Theoretical fabrications are insufficiently illustrated by language examples, and convincing data are not presented. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches. However, as in any major work, a number of shortcomings have been identified, namely: we believe that the stated topic in the title of the article is broader than the presented content. In addition, the combination of "by example" is not entirely clear, probably more appropriate is "based on the material" of the works. Note that the introduction does not contain a statement of the problem problem and the historiography of the issue. The paper lacks a description of the study, the course of the study itself. The conclusion based on the results of the study requires strengthening, it does not fully reflect the tasks set by the author and does not contain prospects for further research in line with the stated issues. The bibliography of the article contains 9 sources, among which works are presented in both Russian and foreign languages. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to the fundamental works of Russian researchers, such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. Technically, when making a bibliographic list, the generally accepted requirements of GOST are violated, namely, non-compliance with the alphabetical principle of registration of sources. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. In general, it should be noted that the article is written in a simple, understandable language for the reader. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the teaching of university courses on text theory, as well as courses on interdisciplinary research on the relationship between language and society. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "The idea of vegetarianism at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries. (on the example of the work of J. Ritson and P.B. Shelley)" may be recommended for publication in a scientific journal after making a number of edits, namely: 1) strengthening the bibliography, 2) clarifying the title of the article, 3) setting goals and objectives, 4) referring to the historiography of the issue.

Second Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the research of the reviewed article is nontrivial, quite new, conceptually verified it is "the evolution of vegetarianism in the literature of Great Britain at the turn of the XVIII - XIX centuries." As the author of this work notes, "the topic of vegetarianism in British literature at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries is poorly studied by domestic researchers, however, the article attempts to give a general description of this phenomenon using specific literary examples, as well as outline prospects for further research. In addition, the works of the writers mentioned in the article (R. Crab, T. Tryon, A. Pope, etc.) concerning the topic of vegetarianism can also be taken into account by researchers of British literature of the XVIIXIX centuries and reflected in Russian literary criticism." The composition of the article is quite interesting, the principle of chronology is successful in this case, the factor of evolution is precisely such a variation and can be assessed objectively. The stylistic component of the work correlates with the scientific type: for example, "the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras and his followers called for the rejection of sacrifices and meat-eating, considering it necessary to eat only thermally unprocessed foods. Then Porphyry turned to the experience of Pythagoras in his treatise "On abstinence from animal food" (Latin De Abstinentia ab Esu Animalium) in it the Phoenician philosopher called for strict asceticism and humanity towards all living beings. However, following the researcher M. Jeanneret, we note that the rejection of animal food, which was practiced by Porphyry or Plutarch, was not fully accepted by their contemporaries...", or "the situation changes at the turn of the XVIIXVIII centuries, when the topic of vegetarianism is again actualized and ceases to be exclusively a religious practice. Thanks to the works of the Scottish physician George Cheyne (1672-1743), the positive effect of a plant-based diet on the human body began to be seriously discussed in the scientific community. The results of his research are reflected in such works as "An Essay on Health and Long Life" (An Essay of Health and Long Life, 1724), "An Essay on Regimen" (An Essay on Regimen, 1740) and "The Natural method of treating diseases of the human body and mental disorders associated with the body" (The Natural Method of Curing the Diseases of the human Body, and the Disorders of the Mind attending on the Body, 1742)" etc. The structure of the work is thought out, the fragmentation into so-called semantic parts is justified, the interested reader will be able to move along the development of the author's thought. I think that the work involves a constructive dialogue with the recipient, because the author often duplicates, and this is not bad, the thematic focus: the "productive" dialogue" between J. Ritson and P.B. Shelley, which largely determined the further development of the philosophy of vegetarianism in European culture, in our opinion, should be analyzed on the material of the "Essay on abstinence from animal Food as a Moral Duty" by Ritson, the philosophical poem "Queen Mab" by Shelley and his essay "Justifying a Natural Diet" using cultural, historical and descriptive methods. Previously, there had been no attempts in Russian literary criticism to consider the topic of vegetarianism in the literature of Great Britain at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries, and this lacuna creates the need for a closer study of this topic." The selected literary base corresponds to the subject line, work with actual sources is carried out within the framework of an up-to-date methodology. No serious critical errors have been identified in the course of the text; the terms and concepts used in the essay are "read" objectively, in a unified manner. I believe that the syncretic tone of the research gives a clear novelty to the work, actualizes the problematic vector. References to Antiquity, the Middle Ages, interdisciplinary communication, a focus on cultural heritage everything is compiled into a good, high-quality corpus. Part of the "theses" allows for further elaboration of the issue, and this can also be assessed positively: "in this work, the writer summarizes numerous examples and arguments against eating animal meat, considering this problem from an ethical, moral, psychological, cultural and practical point of view. In the first chapter of his work, Ritson explores human nature through the prism of the achievements of classical philosophy. Based on the philosophical theories of ancient thinkers and poets (Homer, Hesiod, Lucretius, Pythagoras, Ovid, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, etc.), he defines the key difference between man and animal. So, in the ancient poems of Homer (first of all, in the Iliad) and the tragedy of Euripides "Melanippe the Prisoner", he was attracted by the idea that the soul gives life to a person and determines his actions in the physical world, but the writer did not limit himself to this his attention was also attracted by more consistent concepts of personality that were being developed in post-Homeric Greece." It will be convenient to use the material as part of the development of a number of humanitarian courses, the work can become an aid for writing new articles of a related thematic focus. The critical analysis of J.'s texts is also positively perceived. Ritson and P.B. Shelley: "turning to the social aspect of the vegetarian diet, following Cheney, Ritson proves that the yeomen's diet had a positive effect on their physical health, providing endurance and strength, although their diet was not varied: "their main diet consisted of potatoes, milk and oatmeal...". Discussing the current situation of agriculture, Ritson argues that despite the improvements in this area of the British economy, England, nevertheless, is not ready to provide food to more people than before, because meat production requires larger territories," etc. The basic requirements of the publication have been taken into account, no serious edits are required. The conclusions fully correlate with the main block: "having analyzed the Essay on Abstinence from Animal Food as a moral Duty by J. Ritson, the philosophical poem "Queen Mab" by P.B. Shelley and his essay "Justification of a natural diet", we see that the productive "dialogue" of intellectuals of the Enlightenment (such as T. Tryon and J.. Cheney) and the writer of the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries. Ritson influenced the further development of the philosophy of vegetarianism in European culture. Ritson was one of the first to consider vegetarianism outside of a religious context, focusing on the health-improving effects of plant foods on the human body, as well as the social significance of this type of diet. Ritson's main moral thesis against meat-eating was that eating animal food affects human behavior and encourages violent acts. The romantic poet P.B. Shelley, inspired by the "Essay" of his predecessor, rethought the ideas set out in his work in his own way, and then presented his views on the politically and philosophically significant practice of abstinence from animal food in The Queen of Mab, as well as in the essay "Justification of a Natural Diet". Vegetarianism in Shelley's philosophical concept becomes a "tool", a weapon in the fight against social injustice, as well as a way to achieve moral perfection and harmony." The main goal of the study has been achieved, the tasks set at the beginning have been solved. I recommend the article "The evolution of ideas about vegetarianism in the literature of Great Britain at the turn of the XVIIIXIX centuries. (based on the material "Essay on abstinence from animal food as a moral duty" by J. Ritson, the philosophical poem "Queen Mab" and the essay "Justification of a natural diet" by P.B. Shelley)" for open publication in the journal "Litera".
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