Epilogue: Taste and the New Formalism

James Noggle

in The Temporality of Taste in Eighteenth-Century British Writing

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199642434
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738579 | DOI:
Epilogue: Taste and the New Formalism

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This brief conclusion describes the difference between polemical claims made for taste’s critical power throughout the book and those made for aesthetics by the politically radical wing of New Formalism. My defence of taste does not require me to locate it in a realm of ideally disinterested discourse, any supposedly natural demands of the body, or any other region of thought or language uncontaminated by ideology—all places where New Formalist writers have sought to situate the aesthetic. Rather, taste’s critical power emerges from nowhere but its intimate role in the construction of ideological discourse. Its double emphasis on immediate feeling and historically constructed cultural identity shows us both where ideology comes from and exactly where it can come undone. This divide redeems the discourse of taste not because it leads someplace outside ideology but because it lies fatally within it.

Keywords: Taste; New Formalism; aesthetics; ideology

Chapter.  3486 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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