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Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste
Edinburgh: Printed for J. J. G. and G. Robinson, London; and Bell and Bradfute, Edinburgh, 1790. FIRST EDITION. 4to, 270 x 211 mms., pp. xii [xiv blank, xvi drop-title, xvi blank], 415 [416 blank], contemporary tree calf; front joint cracked and tender, rear joint cracked, top and base of spine chipped, corners worn, lacks labels, but an acceptable copy, with the contemporary autograph "Geo. Wood" on the top margin of the front free end-paper, and the recent bookplate of Henrici Galbraith Miller, dated 1946, on the front paste-down end-paper. "Geo Wood" is probably the judge Sir George Wood (1743 - 1824), Alison bases his theory of taste on the principle of association, holding that in some instances we are powerless to articulate our feelings and that we are thus swept along by our conceptions, unable to guide them. For Alison, the imagination functions in much the same way that sympathy does, and this suggestion proved to be important for the Romantic development of the concept of imagination. Coleridge spoke highly of the work in Biographia Literaria, while in recent years other scholars have begun to re-assess Alison's contribution to the history of aesthetic theory. For example, in Probability and literary form: Philosophical theory and literary practice in the Augustan age (Cambridge University Press, 1984), Douglas Lane Patey notes, "Archibald Alison's influential Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790) develops in particularly interesting detail a theory of reading and composition as associative manipulation of probable signs."
      [Bookseller: John Price Antiquarian Books]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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