The Libertine Tidbit #30: Scene 1 ~ Coffee!

by Stephen Jeffreys

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

The Libertine Tidbit #30: Scene 1 ~ Coffee!

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:28 am

Today our tidbits will end where The Libertine begins, Will’s Coffehouse… :morning:

Image

From about the mid-1600s through the mid-1700s, men (and just about all pictures from the period show only men in coffeehouses) drank their coffee in London’s coffeehouses while they transacted business, discussed politics, and shared literary works in progress. By 1700, there were probably over 2000 coffeehouses in London, or one for every 300 inhabitants. Even though London’s first coffeehouse did not open until 1652, less than 10 years later, coffeehouses had become the favored social venue for members of the Restoration elite. Coffee houses, along with the theater, became an integral part of Restoration London’s social scene. When in 1667 King Charles II’s celebrated mistress, Nell Gwyn, appeared in a comedy entitled The Coffee-house, the performance sold out.

A 1673 pamphlet entitled The Character of a Coffee-House compared the appearance and flavor of coffee to “Pluto’s diet-drink, that witches tipple out of dead men’s skulls.” The typical coffeehouse, the author alleged, “stinks of tobacco worse than hell of brimstone. The beverage itself was served in filthy pots and dishes, the landlord only occasionally “scraping off the contracted soot”, which he then simply substituted for ground coffee, “their taste and virtue being so near of kin, he dares defy the veriest coffee-critic to distinguish them.”

From John Chamberlayne, The Manner of Making Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate... with their Vertues, 1685:

"a Drink termed Coffee, which was heretofore in use amongst Arabians, and Egyptians, and which is now a dayes in very great request among the English... it shall be rosted; after which having beaten it unto very fine powder, you may make use thereof, in an equal proportion according to the number of the people that will drink it: Viz. the third part of a spoonful for each person, and putting a little Sugar thereto: and after having it boil a small time, you must pour it into little dishes of porcelain or any other sort, and so let it be drunk by little and little, as hot as it can possibly be endured..."


Above all, the author condemned coffee houses as dens of subversion, where the social classes promiscuously mingled and spread rumors published in gazettes and pamphlets.” In 1675, Charles II issued an order for the suppression of the coffee-houses, but it was never enforced. Instead the government directed its energies to keeping newspapers out of the coffee houses. In September 1677, twenty coffee-house keepers were summoned before the Council for having admitted newspapers into their premises; their licenses were not renewed. Of course coffeehouses had their defenders as well. One pamphlet of the times says coffee serves as an “incomparable remedy to dissolve crudités, comfort he brain, and dry up ill humors in the stomach”. Coffeehouses were also praised as places to do business. As Wolfgang Schivelbush has noted, for people to gather over a stimulating rather than intoxicating beverage marked nothing less than a revolution in European foodways. In 1674, an anonymous poet favorably compared coffee with the more traditional English beverage of choice:

When foggy Ale, leavying up might trains
Of muddy vapours, had beseig’d our Brains,
Then Heaven in Pity…
First sent amongst us this All-healing Berry (Schivelbush)

Coffehouses were usually associated with a particular interest such as science, politics, business or literature. Men of similar interest gathered at particular spots to discuss the latest news and exchange ideas. The most famous was Will's, at the northern corner of Russell Street and Bow Street. It became known as a meeting place of wits and poets; while most of the customers were seated in groups at small tables, John Dryden had a special place of honour, next to the fire in winter and on the balcony overlooking the street in summer. Everyone wanted to sit as close to Dryden as possible - to speak to him was considered a privilege.


Picture the Earl of Rochester and the Wits, pouring over the latest literary offering at Will’s coffeehouse, looking for the “good bits and bad bits” and lampooning the latest work from Dryden. Pour a cup (or a dish) of coffee and enjoy!





Image
Last edited by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas on Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Re: The Libertine Tidbit #30: Scene 1 ~ Coffee!

Unread postby fansmom » Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:50 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Picture the Earl of Rochester and the Wits, pouring over the latest literary offering at Will’s coffeehouse, looking for the “good bits and bad bits” and lampooning the latest work from Dryden. Pour a cup (or a dish) of coffee and joins us tomorrow as we begin our discussion of “The Libertine”…

Image


That was marvelous, as all the tidbits have been, but when you post Johnny pics, I have a difficult time (read: impossible) reading the serious text. (I'm okay with the coffeeshop pic at the top, d'uh.) Mmmm, must drool a bit more . . . :drool:

User avatar
askmewhy
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 2:12 pm
Location: finally escaped my own private Idaho

Status: Offline

Unread postby askmewhy » Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:17 am

This gets me so excited! I can hardly wait! :bounce:
Thou shalt not commit adulthood!

Johnny, what's your favorite word?
~WHY~

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:34 pm

fansmom wrote: That was marvelous, as all the tidbits have been, but when you post Johnny pics, I have a difficult time (read: impossible) reading the serious text. (I'm okay with the coffeeshop pic at the top, d'uh.) Mmmm, must drool a bit more . . .


Glad you have enjoyed them. I try to put the Johnny pics at the end so you can concentrate then drool! :drool:


askmewhy wrote: This gets me so excited! I can hardly wait!


I can't wait to get started either! I think this will be a fun discussion. Now if we would only hear about the movie release! :banghead:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28417
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:33 pm

Thanks to our fabulous moderators for all their hard work on the tid bits. :bounce: I found the Libertine very difficult reading the first time through, but after studying the tidbits and trying to struggle through the Debt to Pleasure, I have found the second reading of the play much easier. In fact, I am on the last scene now and I don't even remember reading it the first time! Seeing how wonderful the tidbits have been, I can't wait to see what is in store for the actual discussion! this is going to be wonderful!

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:54 pm

nebraska wrote:Thanks to our fabulous moderators for all their hard work on the tid bits. :bounce: I found the Libertine very difficult reading the first time through, but after studying the tidbits and trying to struggle through the Debt to Pleasure, I have found the second reading of the play much easier. In fact, I am on the last scene now and I don't even remember reading it the first time! Seeing how wonderful the tidbits have been, I can't wait to see what is in store for the actual discussion! this is going to be wonderful!


Boy. Talk about pressure! I hope we can live up to that. But one thing you can be sure of........the questions won't be easy. :capnjack:

I have to agree with you, Nebraska, that the play was much easier the second time around. I am very much looking forward to this discussion.
:bounce:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:45 pm

In September 1677, twenty coffee-house keepers were summoned before the Council for having admitted newspapers into their premises


OMG, not newspapers in the coffee house! We've come a long way, haven't we, Starbucks? :morning:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:40 pm

Our last tidbit for TL... :bawl: We do have one more treat coming up though so keep checking back! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
Raven
Posts: 1504
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:47 am
Location: This is Bat Country!
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby Raven » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:09 pm

Liz wrote:
In September 1677, twenty coffee-house keepers were summoned before the Council for having admitted newspapers into their premises


OMG, not newspapers in the coffee house! We've come a long way, haven't we, Starbucks? :morning:


And now we can take our laptops into our coffee house of choice. Amazing!

Mocha anyone?

Image
"In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid
and the envious."
John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys

User avatar
gilly
Posts: 6552
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:14 pm
Location: australia

Status: Offline

Unread postby gilly » Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:14 am

Can you imagine having soot in your coffee :-O .....it definitely 'comforts my brain ' :cool:
Life is beautiful.

I have faith in you.


Return to “The Libertine”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest