(2923 words)
  • Charlotte Stevens (The Open University)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The concept of taste developed across the eighteenth century into an often-used discriminator of aesthetic judgement, but whilst there were consistent efforts to raise it to the level of a philosophically satisfactory category, it remained conceptually vague. James Miller in The Man of Taste (1735) would aver that despite “the superabundance of taste, few can say what the it really is, or what the word means”, and by the end of the century it is doubtful if the question had been resolved.

Frances Hutcheson, in the first comprehensive attempt to theorise taste, his Inquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), argued that because taste is a consequence of the senses and is more intuitive …

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Stevens, Charlotte. "Taste". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 April 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1091, accessed 01 October 2016.]