The Temporality of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Writing

Hardcover | March 10, 2012

byJames Noggle

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Is taste a quick, momentary experience in the individual mind? Or something durable, shaped by slow, historical processes, affecting groups of people at different times and places? British writers in the eighteenth century believed that it was both, and the tension between these temporal polesshaped the meaning of taste in the period and set a course for aesthetics in following centuries. Focusing on works in many genres-Alexander Pope's poems, David Hume's historiography, essays by Hannah More and Anna Barbauld, and novels by Frances Burney and William Beckford-this book sees thedivided temporality of taste as an unpredictable force in British writing. The eighteenth century was the age of taste. Writers considered its intense effects on individual minds as especially characteristic of the collective present of British modernity, whilst they also recognized the disturbing tendency of taste's immediacy and its historical roles to interrupt andforeclose on each other. While noting how taste's two temporal flavours may be made to agree in order to consolidate various national, social, and gendered identities, this book also demonstrates that taste's dual temporality makes it more disruptive than scholars usually think. As such, tastemodels a kind of critical practice that this book itself endeavours to inherit: the insistent testing of the moment of discernment and on-going patterns of thinking and feeling against each other.

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Is taste a quick, momentary experience in the individual mind? Or something durable, shaped by slow, historical processes, affecting groups of people at different times and places? British writers in the eighteenth century believed that it was both, and the tension between these temporal polesshaped the meaning of taste in the period a...

James Noggle is professor of English at Wellesley College. He is author of The Skeptical Sublime: Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists (Oxford, 2001), and an editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Socie...

other books by James Noggle

Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:March 10, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199642435

ISBN - 13:9780199642434

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Progress of Pleasure1. Taste Against Taste in Pope's Epistle to Burlington2. The Britishness of the Present at Stowe3. "Almost Inseparable": Taste and History in Hume4. Appearance as Experience: Three Women's Texts about Taste of the 1770s5. The Power of Pure Contingency: Fashion in Smith and the Reynoldses6. The Hell of Ownership: Beckford on CollectingEpilogue: Taste and the New FormalismNotesWorks Cited

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Review from other book by this author: 'The importance of James Noggle's fine study lies both in its challenge to our expectations of where we are likely to encounter the sublime, and in its realignment of the trope's philosophical affiliations ... This study ends with a compelling discussionof the final Dunciad.' --Kelly Grovier, Times Literary Supplement Review from other book by this author