A Festschrift for Shoichi Watanabe on his 80 th Birthday
KAZUYUKI SHIMOTANI ‘Taste is Taste’: Shifts in the Entailments of the Metaphorical Concept of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics 301
KAZUYUKI SHIMOTANI ‘Taste is Taste’: Shifts in the Entailments of the Metaphorical Concept of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics Until the beginning of the eighteenth century, the metaphor TASTE1 had solely implied ‘liking or disliking,’ viz., ‘personal preference’ in aesthetic as well as in gustatory experience. This metaphor, however, began to be applied to ‘the aesthetic faculty’ the faculty to perceive and appreciate beauty in the essays on TASTE that flooded Britain during the century,2 when the term aesthetic did not yet exist in the English vocabulary.3 Philosophers, literary critics, and almost every- one in the polite world during that time discussed TASTE.4 The as- cendancy of TASTE in aesthetics and literary criticism in eighteenth- century Britain was a remarkable phenomenon in the history of ideas. However, the abundance of theories on TASTE did not lead to the establishment of a uniform and clear concept of TASTE; it only served to make the concept more diverse and ambiguous. I have already discussed the causes of the ambiguity and con- fusion peculiar to eighteenth-century British authors’ concepts of TASTE in my book, The Limits of the Metaphorical Concept of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics and Criticism, 5 which 1 In this chapter, TASTE (in uppercase letters) will be used to indicate metaphorical taste, i.e., mental taste. 2 Dickie dubs this century “the century of taste, that is, of the theory of taste” (1996: 3). 3 According to the OED, the word aesthetic, as applied to ‘criticism of taste,’...
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