At the dinner table, and with coffee in the office afterwards, Wolfe resumed on the subject he had started at lunch—Voltaire. The big questions was, could a man be called great on account of the way he used words, even though he was a toady, a trimmer, a forger, and an intellectual fop. That had been dealt with at lunch, and Voltaire had come out fairly well except on the toady count. How could you call a man great who sought the company and favors of dukes and duchesses, of Richelieu, of Frederick of Prussia? But it was at dinner and in the office that Voltaire really got it. What finally ruled him out was something that hadn't been mentioned at lunch at all: he had no palate and not much appetite. He was indifferent to food; he might even eat only once a day; and he drank next to nothing. All his life he was extremely skinny, and in his later years he was merely a skeleton. To call him a great many was absurd; strictly speaking, he wasn't a man at all since he had no palate and a dried-up stomach. He was a remarkable word-assembly plant, but he wasn't a man, let alone a great one.
-- from Gambit, by Rex Stout (Viking, 1964)
Agree or disagree?