The Invention Of Soup

As noted a few days ago, I have now begun reading Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera. Its eccentricity, adverted to by Guy Davenport, has already become apparent. Here is an extract from Letter II, The Great Picnic.

I. That the strength of Hercules is for deed, not misdeed ; and that his club – the favourite weapon, also, of the Athenian hero Theseus, whose form is the best inheritance left to us by the greatest of Greek sculptors, (it is in the Elgin room of the British Museum, and I shall have much to tell you of him – especially how he helped Hercules in his utmost need, and how he invented mixed vegetable soup) – was for subduing monsters and cruel persons, and was of olive-wood.

(My emphasis.)

It may be that my classical education is scanty, but I had no idea mixed vegetable soup was invented by Theseus. I am hoping, with undisguised excitement, that Ruskin keeps his promise and tells me more about this in a subsequent letter.


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