Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World

Marcy Norton

Published by Cornell University Press, 2010
ISBN 10: 0801476321 / ISBN 13: 9780801476327
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Before Columbus's fateful voyage in 1492, no European had ever seen, much less tasted, tobacco or chocolate. Initially dismissed as dry leaves and an odd Indian drink, these two commodities came to conquer Europe on a scale unsurpassed by any other American resource or product. A fascinating story of contact, exploration, and exchange in the Atlantic world, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures traces the ways in which these two goods of the Americas both changed and were changed by Europe.

Focusing on the Spanish Empire, Marcy Norton investigates how tobacco and chocolate became material and symbolic links to the pre-Hispanic past for colonized Indians and colonizing Europeans alike. Botanical ambassadors of the American continent, they also profoundly affected Europe. Tobacco, once condemned as proof of Indian diabolism, became the constant companion of clergymen and the single largest source of state revenue in Spain. Before coffee or tea became popular in Europe, chocolate was the drink that energized the fatigued and uplifted the depressed. However, no one could quite forget the pagan past of tobacco and chocolate, despite their apparent Europeanization: physicians relied on Mesoamerican medical systems for their understanding of tobacco; theologians looked to Aztec precedent to decide whether chocolate drinking violated Lenten fasts.

The struggle of scientists, theologians, and aficionados alike to reconcile notions of European superiority with the fact of American influence shaped key modern developments ranging from natural history to secularization. Norton considers the material, social, and cultural interaction between Europe and the Americas with historical depth and insight that goes beyond the portrayal of Columbian exchange simply as a matter of exploitation, infection, and conquest.

From the Back Cover: "Chocolate and tobacco will never taste the same. Smokers and chocoholics will understand themselves better, thanks to Marcy Norton´s book, not as victims of their own addictions or indulgences, but as part of a vast, fascinating, and world-shaping episode of the history of cultural exchange."--Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Tufts University, author of Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration

"Marcy Norton's fascinating, beautifully illustrated, and deeply researched book traces the history of chocolate and tobacco as each crossed the Atlantic in the early modern era. Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures draws on a rich and varied array of sources, including artwork, shipping registers, religious treatises, medical manuals, Inquisition records, and poetry. Norton delineates how Iberians emulated and adapted American habits as they sought to fit tobacco and chocolate into their religious worldviews, medical practices, habits of sociability, and economic systems. This original and pathbreaking work deserves a wide readership."--Alison Games, Georgetown University, author of The Web of Empire: British Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560-1660

"In Mesoamerica, tobacco was consumed as a paste to apply on the body, as an alkaloid to chew with lime, as a powder to sniff, or as a cigarette to smoke. Chocolate was originally consumed mostly by elites, mixed with corn flour, spices and honey. Marcy Norton deftly shows in Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures that European colonizers eventually embraced these patterns of consumption. Norton puts Spain at the center of the narrative on the early modern consumer revolution. She succeeds brilliantly in showing how tobacco and chocolate were consumed in Mesoamerica prior to the European arrival and how the Spaniards and their descendants sought to cleanse these two staples of their pagan, demonic associations."-Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin, author of Puritan Conquistadors

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Title: Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History ...
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: 2010
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Before Columbus s fateful voyage in 1492, no European had ever seen, much less tasted, tobacco or chocolate. Initially dismissed as dry leaves and an odd Indian drink, these two commodities came to conquer Europe on a scale unsurpassed by any other American resource or product. A fascinating story of contact, exploration, and exchange in the Atlantic world, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures traces the ways in which these two goods of the Americas both changed and were changed by Europe. Focusing on the Spanish Empire, Marcy Norton investigates how tobacco and chocolate became material and symbolic links to the pre-Hispanic past for colonized Indians and colonizing Europeans alike. Botanical ambassadors of the American continent, they also profoundly affected Europe. Tobacco, once condemned as proof of Indian diabolism, became the constant companion of clergymen and the single largest source of state revenue in Spain. Before coffee or tea became popular in Europe, chocolate was the drink that energized the fatigued and uplifted the depressed. However, no one could quite forget the pagan past of tobacco and chocolate, despite their apparent Europeanization: physicians relied on Mesoamerican medical systems for their understanding of tobacco; theologians looked to Aztec precedent to decide whether chocolate drinking violated Lenten fasts. The struggle of scientists, theologians, and aficionados alike to reconcile notions of European superiority with the fact of American influence shaped key modern developments ranging from natural history to secularization. Norton considers the material, social, and cultural interaction between Europe and the Americas with historical depth and insight that goes beyond the portrayal of Columbian exchange simply as a matter of exploitation, infection, and conquest. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780801476327

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Before Columbus s fateful voyage in 1492, no European had ever seen, much less tasted, tobacco or chocolate. Initially dismissed as dry leaves and an odd Indian drink, these two commodities came to conquer Europe on a scale unsurpassed by any other American resource or product. A fascinating story of contact, exploration, and exchange in the Atlantic world, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures traces the ways in which these two goods of the Americas both changed and were changed by Europe. Focusing on the Spanish Empire, Marcy Norton investigates how tobacco and chocolate became material and symbolic links to the pre-Hispanic past for colonized Indians and colonizing Europeans alike. Botanical ambassadors of the American continent, they also profoundly affected Europe. Tobacco, once condemned as proof of Indian diabolism, became the constant companion of clergymen and the single largest source of state revenue in Spain. Before coffee or tea became popular in Europe, chocolate was the drink that energized the fatigued and uplifted the depressed. However, no one could quite forget the pagan past of tobacco and chocolate, despite their apparent Europeanization: physicians relied on Mesoamerican medical systems for their understanding of tobacco; theologians looked to Aztec precedent to decide whether chocolate drinking violated Lenten fasts. The struggle of scientists, theologians, and aficionados alike to reconcile notions of European superiority with the fact of American influence shaped key modern developments ranging from natural history to secularization. Norton considers the material, social, and cultural interaction between Europe and the Americas with historical depth and insight that goes beyond the portrayal of Columbian exchange simply as a matter of exploitation, infection, and conquest. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780801476327

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