Table talk (literature)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2007)|
Table talk is a species of memoir in which a collector (biographer, colleague, friend, etc.) records impromptu comments by some famous person (made generally at the dining table or in small get-togethers), in anticipation of their lasting value. The collector may go on to publish the remarks in book form.
"Table talk" may also refer to a similar informal conversation, more deliberately engaged in by the famous person, with the direct intent of publication (somewhat analogous to granting an interview).
Collections of such table talks by royal persons, celebrities, and other important personalities dating back to the 3rd century exist. The phrase table talk has been in use in the English language since the 16th century.
As examples, published table talks exist for:
- Frederick the Great (1712-1786);
- Martin Luther (1483-1546), see Table Talk (Luther);
- John Milton (1608-1674);
- Samuel Johnson (1707-1784);
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834);
- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827);
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821);
- John Selden (1584-1654);
- Johann von Goethe (1749-1832);
- Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888);
- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950);
- Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), see Hitler's Table Talk.
Occasionally, comments are collected from others by a notable person as part of that person's working notes and may survive in the papers of that person. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, kept notes on the conversations of his family and friends, many of whom, of course, were noteworthy.
Table talks online
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 
- Abraham Lincoln: 
- Martin Luther: 
- Samuel Johnson: