Taste: A Literary History

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 272 pages
What does eating have to do with aesthetic taste? While most accounts of aesthetic history avoid the gustatory aspects of taste, this book rewrites standard history to uncover the constitutive and dramatic tension between appetite and aesthetics at the heart of British literary tradition. From Milton through the Romantics, the metaphor of taste serves to mediate aesthetic judgment and consumerism, gusto and snobbery, gastronomes and gluttons, vampires and vegetarians, as well as the philosophy and physiology of food.The author advances a theory of taste based on Milton’s model of the human as consumer (and digester) of food, words, and other commodities—a consumer whose tasteful, subliminal self remains haunted by its own corporeality. Radically rereading Wordsworth’s feeding mind, Lamb’s gastronomical essays, Byron’s cannibals and other deviant diners, and Kantian nausea, Taste resituates Romanticism as a period that naturally saw the rise of the restaurant and the pleasures of the table as a cultural field for the practice of aesthetics.

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Taste: a literary history

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Gigante (English, Stanford Univ.) here investigates the neglected relationship between aesthetic sensibilities and gustatory, or taste-related, physiology in literary history. Beginning with the ... Read full review

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Contents

An Introduction
1
Milton
22
Shaftesbury Hume Burke
47
4 Digesting Wordsworth
68
5 Lambs LowUrban Taste
88
Byron
116
7 Keatss Nausea
138
George IV
160
Notes
180
Index
228
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