The middle-class discourse of taste, associated with the attendant ideologies of sympathy and sensibility, comes into being against the oppressive monarchial rule. Work this out in relation to contrasting interpretations of La Méduse. On the one hand, a conservative opportunity to decry an angry, voracious mob; on the other, a republican opportunity to delineate the “extreme resources” necessary for mere survival under monarchial rule. Taste becomes double-edged: “merely savages caught in the trap of their own indolence, unable to enter into the spirit of the symbolic economy of taste” (122). MALTHUS – calls cannibalism “the dreadful extremity.”
The term cannibal comes from colonial discourse, in which the word “Carib” (meaning savage) was converted into the word “Canib” and then to Cannibal.
Byron serves as hinge from discourse of cannibalism to discourse of vampirism—in which the latter becomes explicitly homosexual and ethereal.
MILTON: makes room for the gustatory in aesthetic experience [Eve paves the ways for the aesthetically discriminating man of taste], before taste begins to be sublimated, repressed and/or internally fractured in the 18th century. Milton describes and embodied mode of taste.
The man of taste gets converted into a consumer. And Gourmands in the fin-de-siècle become gastronomes and gastronomy emerges as a literary genre in his own right. Taste becomes constructed as the ability to discrimante amongst an onslaught of commodities.