The article explores the evolution of the category of taste during the XVIII and XIX centuries, adopting the categories of pure and impure as paradigmatic keys to the subject. Reynolds’ standards of aesthetic judgement, and the voices of Hogarth and Richard Payne Knight, mark the drive towards taste as subjective response. Thus young Marianne Dashwood can judge whether Edward Ferrars’ taste is pure or impure. Taste, despite Hazlitt’s warnings, becomes synonymous with fashion, and fashion is an impure element, conditioned by new technologies, allowing the manufacture of endless replicas from original art works. The Great Exhibition is the pivotal event that consecrates the productions of industry, commerce and art. Such triangulation thrives on the scientific progress of chemistry, which presides over the offer of new materials, colours, printing techniques, Parian marble, electroplated metal, allowing all kinds of cheap imitations. John Ruskin comments upon the triumphant progress of chemistry: and often uses analogies or metaphors taken from this science in order to explain the obscure processes of the artist’s associative imagination. Purity of taste – or its impure connections with chemical works and their products – are discussed by Ruskin. But the paradigm pure/impure is also relevant to the work of Victorian art critics. Walter Pater and Vernon Lee recur to chemistry in order to explain the mysteries of the subjective response to art. Writers follow, such as Collins and Stevenson, who weld the strange mixture of pure and impure elements in human nature to chemistry, and thus place on the epistemic horizon of this science the fundamental questions of their age.
|Titolo:||The chemistry of taste : aesthetics, literature, and the rise of the impure|
|Parole Chiave:||Victorian literature; aesthetics; John Ruskin; Walter Pater; English literature; chemistry; narration; taste|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-LIN/10 - Letteratura Inglese|
|Data di pubblicazione:||dic-2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.14277/2420-823X/EL-2-2-15-1|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|