Title

And Palate Call Judicious: "Paradise Lost" And The Question Of Taste

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Winter 2017

Published In

ELH

Abstract

Paradise Lost repeatedly emphasizes the taste of the forbidden fruit. This essay argues that the poem averts, for discernible religious reasons, any binding judgment concerning whether the fruit is genuinely delicious or delicious only to a palate on the brink of corruption. The divine creator's participation in sensory delight would suggest his unseemly pleasure in sacrifice. This essay argues that John Milton advances a warning against grounding shared knowledge in taste. Although this lesson would go unheeded by Edmund Burke in his project of theistic empiricism, it speaks to problems within the Kantian account of aesthetic judgment and collective reason.

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