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An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Taste, and of the Origin of our Ideas of Beauty, etc.

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Published: 1785
Language: English
Wordcount: 13,923 / 49 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 50.3
LoC Category: B
Downloads: 3,878
Added to site: 2004.11.14 9152
Genre: Philosophy

With an Introduction by James L. Clifford.

Show Excerpt

ork of man is perfection, this perfection has been blemished and man is impelled to recapture it in the sublime. Yet instead of analyzing this impulse, Miss Reynolds appears to take it for granted. Nor does she consider how perfection is to be achieved in taste, preferring to conclude with a diatribe in the manner of Rousseau on the depravity of the times and the corrupting effect of the arts. (For this and many of the following comments I am indebted to Mr. Ralph Cohen of the College of the City of New York.)

The cause of some of the ambiguities in her discussion may perhaps be traced to a rather careless use of terms. At one time "instinct" or "impulsion," the moral force driving man toward perfection, is a potentiality developed by cultivation, and at another a force that is created by cultivation. Although the sublime is the apex of her mathematically-definite program and is a moral quality attained by the few, every human being has his point of sublimity in the idea of a Supreme Being. On the one hand



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