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The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature
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The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  103 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The Hungry Soul is a fascinating exploration of the natural and cultural act of eating. Kass brilliantly reveals how the various aspects of this phenomenon, and the customs, rituals, and taboos surrounding it, relate to universal and profound truths about the human animal and its deepest yearnings.

"Kass is a distinguished and graceful writer. . . . It is astonishing to dis
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1994)
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Miriam Krupka
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I was excited to read this book because I'm a big fan of "The Beginning of Wisdom" and I also like his collection on courtship and marriage ("Wing to wing, oar to oar" - with his wife, Amy Kass) but I found this book to be, while centered on one theme, a bit all over the place. His writing is always beautiful, and always enjoyable, but here, I felt like he was trying to fit various random ideas in philosophy into one theme, not matter how much he had to push the fit. Sometimes it works (I enjoye ...more
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Kass's philosophical exploration of the human need and habits around food, seems to depend largely on Western, modernist notions of self-perfection through progress. Kass appears equates human civilization with virtue, (references to animals always being pejorative) and rarely accounts for the psychological constraints of culture and society that produced much of the manners/customs he seems to praise as progress. The book has intriguing arguments, but only in the context of a larger conversatio ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
On eating and the whole culture of food. Kass is Jewish and therefore accepts the kosher laws. But there are many great insights into food and our practices surrounding eating.
Tara Otegui
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a very interesting approach to explain human nature, but it was dry and hard to read. I could appreciate the attempt. I had some trouble reading it.
Oscar Manuel
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
La explicación aristotélica sobre el acto de comer en cuanto a sustancia definida por la forma y la materia es excelente. Sin embargo, Kass se empacha de moralidad al punto del ridículo. ¿Quién censuraría el acto de comer en público un helado? Eso porque seguro no ha visto a nadie comer un elote sentado en una banca frente a la iglesia.
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful, nourishing, delightful study of how eating differs from dining. Through eating with others we grow more civil; the family table becomes a school for life.

[I]ncivility, insensitivity, and ingratitude learned at the family table can infect all other aspects of one's life. Conversely, good habits and thoughtful attitudes regarding food and eating will have far-reaching benefits. Self-restraint and self-command, consideration for others, politeness, fairness, generosity, tact, discernme
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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Technically I didn't quite finish this. I was about 40-50 pages from finishing it when I sold it. After many attempts, I just had to let it go. There was some interesting info in it, but it was quite boring.
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read it and read it and am still reading it. So good.
Sep 24, 2014 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
I did not understand too much of this book...
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
reading everything I can by Leon Kass.
This IS such an interesting perspective.
Dec 07, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommended in the book The Omnivore's Dilemma
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
"It seems there was wisdom in the apple after all."
Philip Bunn
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American physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual, best known as proponent of liberal education via the "Great Books," as an opponent of human cloning, life extension and euthanasia, as a critic of certain areas of technological progress and embryo research, and for his controversial tenure as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. Although Kass is ofte ...more