So what makes someone’s taste in literature good? Is it just liking the same books or writers as yourself? More niche books? A eclectic variety? If you had to describe your taste in literature, what would you say?
>>21802774>More niche books? A eclectic variety?More this, along with being generally knowledgeable in your niche. You also have to have read enough shit and enough good shit to be able to tell the difference and develop the sensibility to approach more objective opinions. I think if you can elucidate why something is trash, why you like trash, and how it's still better than some well regarded works that have a following of poncy pseuds who only read /lit/ top 10s, you're approaching good taste.
>>21802774I likes what I likes ‘cause I likes it. Problem?
>>21802774Reading less is a good sign. There is no need to read widely over reading deeply.Actively avoiding bad books is a sign too. 100% of the time your prejudices are correct.
>>21802774Good taste = likes things I doStop trying to justify your own feelings
>>21802928>reading less is goodObjectively retarded. I read wide while I was in highschool and at first I would know if a book was good or bad, but I couldn't figure out WHY it was good or bad. It wasn't till like 100+ before I started picking up on what made a book bad or good, the storytelling or the pacing was bad, or it's prose was boring. Reading bad books was as helpful as reading good books for figuring that out. I focus mostly on authors I like so I don't read as many bad books now but at least I know why I like something
>>21802928>try to get into reading>acquire over 50 books>realize I only really care about a handful and might as well give away all but a couple
>>218027741. read a lot of literature, from Gilgamesh to Pynchon, some 50 books a year, from the ages of 12-15 to 22-25, in at least two or three languages, but preferentially more.2. read carefully, trying to understand every line on at least a literal level. 3. write, write, write, but do so following the traditional forms (sonnets, realist stories, things like that); learn the art of good imitation.4. translate.5. years later, see what you've written, and if you don't cringe that means you're not developing, so maybe it's hopeless for you; change your approach, or go study some other stuff.6. after three or four years, as your knowledge grows, start being completely honest with yourself in trying to understand why you like, or dislike, the things you do; this includes not only authors and books, but even particular lines, and in fact even particular words within the same line; read the Shakespeare sonnets and rank the top five words/lines/metaphors etc. which you think were best chosen, and the top five that you think were not, and try to understand *why exactly you think that*; repeat one year later and see if the results match, and if they don't, try to understand why; after discovering the reason, try to criticize yourself, using all the tools you've accumulated after so many philosophy/literary criticism books that you ought to have read and understood by now; do other similar exercises, or don't do any exercise at all (I never did), but just try to understand yourself, and the books you're reading, and your reactions to them, as you read them.Keep doing this until you've hit the ten year mark and you'll probably be a person with literary tastes which are: i. personal; ii. well-thought-out; iii. not the result of ignorance (i.e., 'not knowing better'), but rather of careful selection among the many hundreds of books you know.A man of good taste is above all one who knows how to select. But he must have learned enough to *know what he's doing* when he selects.You know you have a developed taste when you open a book and you hate it at the first page for purely literary reasons, *regardless of the author's fame*.Those three characteristics are the only thing that there is to "good taste". There is no such thing as objective aesthetic merit, but there is such thing as objectively derivative writing, cliché, stupidity, dead formulas, failed attempts, poor choice of words, truisms, etc. Even so, there are still many different kinds of sensibilities, different approaches to what writing should be, etc. Nabokov and Faulkner both had *personal*, *well-thought out*, *knowledgeable* tastes in literature, but they often disagreed, because they were different men with different approaches to the art. This is inevitable. Your tastes should be your own and nobody else's.
>>21804269>read a lot of literature, from Gilgamesh to Pynchon, some 50 books a year, from the ages of 12-15 to 22-25, in at least two or three languages, but preferentially more.You've read 500 books in 3 languages? Post shelves or larp.>You know you have a developed taste when you open a book and you hate it at the first page for purely literary reasons, *regardless of the author's fame*.I can do that, and I've only been reading seriously for two years; that doesn't mean my criticism is worth a damn beyond my own greater aesthetic vision. I think what makes ones tastes "strong" vs insipid or arbitrary is how well they align with an overarching philosophy of art. Everything Joyce liked and didn't like, for example, had a strong reasoning behind it and each of those reasons were in a greater harmony to form a consistent overall aesthetic profile.
>>21804269Force-feeding a literal child hundreds of books at the age when he should be playing sports, making friends and wooing young women is like throwing the same child into a solitary confinement at a monastery. Even hardcore wizards will call you a pseud and throw thunder at your dessicated ass.A young man does not even have his brain properly developed before age 22, and never if he smokes weed in college, and you offer this demo version of a human an equivalent of advanced calculus at age 12-15 lmaoHe will never understand nor properly appreciate texts made by grown men for grown men. Only a surface attempt at understanding a whiff of the real deal. Like reading romantic poetry while locked in a basement instead of taking the girl you like on a boat some spring morning and then from plebs removed on proper scenery softly say to her how beautiful her hair is in Sun's early rays.This ineffable experience is necessary for understanding romantic poetry, no amount of licking pages will ever give even a hint of life proper.
>>21802774>let's discuss taste about tastes
>>21804629>You've read 500 books in 3 languages? Post shelves or larp.More books, and in more languages, as a matter of fact. This is nothing out of the ordinary for a poet of my age (26). >Everything Joyce liked and didn't like, for example, had a strong reasoningSee:>when you open a book and you hate it at the first page for purely literary reasons>purely literary reasons>reasonsWhen I say reasons I mean reasons, although, to be sure, they do not necessarily need to be entirely explicit or coherent -- not all great writers have a well-defined philosophy, but a good deal of them do, and even those who don't usually have something approaching it, hence why nearly all, or maybe all writers can also be good critics.Yet how did they arrive at their philosophies? Well, each person is different, but for many of them it was probably a process similar to the one described in my post. >>21804840You do know that the vast majority of writers start reading seriously at around that age, right?You do know that T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Vladimir Nabokov, and so on, even most minor writers, started reading seriously at around that age, right? You also know, of course, that Borges, Rimbaud, John Wilmot and others started even earlier. It's entirely normal for a teenager to read a translation of the Odyssey at the age of 14. It's entirely normal for the same teenager to read the complete plays of Shakespeare, as well as Dante, and yes, even harder books, such as Ulysses. He will understand some of it, provided that he possesses a brain, and enjoy a great deal -- if he doesn't, he is simply not fit for literature, in the same way some people, most people in fact, including me, are not fit for music playing and composition. At later ages he will reread those books, and enjoy the great pleasure of noticing how much 'they' have changed with the years. >Force-feedingI never talked about force-feeding. You should read those books if you want. If the wish to read and write doesn't come from inside, if reading 600 pages of Homer feels like a chore to you, then you are not fit for literature and should do something else.>Like reading romantic poetry while locked in a basement instead of taking the girl you likeYou can do both.The dumbing down of literature by the 'educational' system has rotten the brains of many generations. Back in the day it was expected from a twelve year old boy that he should know his Gulliver, his D. Quixote, his Long John Silver, and his Robison Crusoe, but now even for a teenager those are apparently "too much".
>>21804629Do you find 500 to be so outlandish? My friend has recently turned seventeen and has over 600 books marked as read on Goodreads. 500 by age 25 doesn't immediately strike me as a larp in the slightest, if he is a serious reader.
>>21804915Well I've read less than 200 for sure and I'm 30. I'm trying to break into writing serious fiction. Just out of curiosity (not asking for advice here) would you recommend me to give up? Wouldn't you say writing is an art that allows for late bloomers, as compared to music, chess, etc? There are plenty of writers who started in their 20s and 30s, granted that amount becomes much scarcer when you exclude genre fiction, but it's still not unheard of by any means.>The dumbing down of literature by the 'educational' system has rotten the brains of many generations. Back in the day it was expected from a twelve year old boy that he should know his Gulliver, his D. Quixote, his Long John Silver, and his Robison Crusoe, but now even for a teenager those are apparently "too much".I totally agree with this btw.
>>21804956I have strong doubts about a 17 year old reading 600 books unless he is marking down goosebumps he read when he was 12, which isn’t that impressive then. A 17 year old doesn’t have the life experience to really understand a lot of serious literature anyway
>>21804956He probably lies, glosses over every other sentence, doesn't understand 2/3 of the book he's reading (on a non-literary level) or marks goyslops and manga volumes. Mix of theseAlso>my friend
>>21805006>Well I've read less than 200 for sure and I'm 30Nigga that's less than one a month.
>>21802774What makes someone’s taste in literature good is ultimately being conscious of their own taste, by this I mean to say that one’s taste in lit is much like one’s taste in other fields, you cannot know your taste unless you’ve had exposure to a variety of things and found what is it that you like and dislike, and having done this you’ve sat down and considered why is it you like what you like and why you dislike what you dislike, this isn’t to say their critique will be good on a grand scale, but in terms of understanding their own aesthetic ideals within a medium, they’ll have gained knowledge of what they look for and will seek that out. While undoubtedly there are superior things and superior tastes, what is superior taste comes down to broader philosophical questions such as what is the beautiful, what is being, what should be looked for in literature, but this question of superiority of tastes I would argue isn’t necessarily the same as having a Good or bad taste, for the Good taste understands what is elegant, natural and coherent for his personal ideals, even if I or you consider that man’s ideals and aesthetic taste to be ugly or foolish, for a well cultivated intellectual approach is not necessarily a good or correct one. In this regard I would say even liking the most common schlock and only consuming little of it, and it being works I personally despise, this can still be Good taste, it is simply good taste in accordance with their own faculties. To pull a name out of the hat, it is clear to me that Joyce while I dislike most of his work and consider his aesthetic choices improper for my aesthetic ideals and conception, he still understood his own ideal of the beautiful well. To transplant this into another medium, if a very grug fellow whose soul, whose essence is grug, only liked to watch action movies and the most gross kinds of violence, would it be better he only watch the most pacifist and physically dull art movies of which he doesn’t gain anything from, neither beauty nor intellectual pleasure? No this would be simple slavery of the mind and choosing to numb his tastebuds, if instead he sought out the most extreme levels of violence and action that appeased the violent virtues within his being, and sought out this most violent material, Then this to me is good taste. This kind of hyper-specific fixation, consumption and production wise is a mark of genuinely being enthralled with a form of art, if maximal enthrallment through a specific form of artifice isn’t the measure to someone having a cultivated taste, well then what is? >>21804915Show us some of your poetry.
>>21804956I don’t know man, it may seem like a lot but if you’re really interested in certain fields the books can be downed quick and smooth as water, same way multi hour YouTube videos may be downed if you’re really locked in Attention wise.I don’t think it’s impossible to read 500 in 5 years especially if you read fast and are reading shorter length works.Twelve to 25? That’s what, 38 books a year ? That’s not really impossible at all.
>>21805210This is what I kind of think. Wide exposure is important because then you can start to narrow down what is important to you, and what style, themes, etc you look for.
>>21805283Absolutely, I don’t think you necessarily need a wide consumption after you’ve gotten into what you like, but if you really like that medium you’re gonna venture out just to see what’s up. I’m sure we all have favorite genres of music and I’m sure we’ve all tried other genres which we didn’t really like just to give it a chance and see if there’s more good stuff to consume, I don’t think it’s any different. If you’re really into lit you’re gonna try to branch out, maybe you’ll like the new stuff maybe you won’t.
>>21805297Yeah. To me, one’s taste is when a niche is found and is dug into a little bit
>>21805160I did say I've only taken lit seriously for 2 years.
>>21805020>>21805116I suspected he was skimming to begin with, but he can converse at length about the novels we've mutually read. And no, they aren't Goosebumps and he isn't Hungrycaterpillarmaxxing, it's the sort of books that /lit/ gets hard for, with the exception of the women he's read.What sort of life experience does one need to understand serious literature? What tangible events does one need under their belt? I'm sincerely curious.
>>21805482Experience is important for relating and applying. The fact you even asked this tells me you are very young
>>21804915>You do know that the vast majority of writers start reading seriously at around that age, right?No, that is not true at all. They were not reading 'seriously' aka '500 books in 3+ languages from 12 till 22'. Barely anyone did in history of mankind.>You do know that T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Vladimir Nabokov, and so on, even most minor writers, started reading seriously at around that age, right?Your criteria of seriousness are ludicrous. "Guys, how do I become a good runner?" is asked, and you rush to reply "Oh just simply start running daily marathons at 12 years old, so you can start your sports career at 17 and die with no legs by the ripe age of 27". You simply concoct pompous bullshit to make random insecure strangers feel inadequate.>It's entirely normal for a teenager to read a translation of the Odyssey at the age of 14.Yeah, I did so. This is indeed normal. Le '500+ tomes in Greek, Latin and Akkadian by 22' is not. This is like calling Usain Bolt the normal runner. Norms are made with the mean in mind, not the ultimate end of the bell curve that appear like twice a century per literate civilization of 500+ million people in it.> You should read those books if you want. If the wish to read and write doesn't come from inside, if reading 600 pages of Homer feels like a chore to you, then you are not fit for literature and should do something else.Yeah nah, I have my doubts. OP did not ask 'How do I become the most well-read and brilliant English language novelist of century XXI', he asked what amounts to how can he teach his palate to distinguish excellent if obscure works from well-known but merely good.He asked how could he become a good runner, not the world champion - but in reading literature.>You can do both.Not if you have le 500 tomes lined up to read from dusk till dawn you don't, lmao. And this is with moneyed elite-aristocratic upbringing in mind the like of Nabokov or at least TS Eliot, and these folks don't frequent 4chan. Speaking of Eliot:>First, he had to overcome physical limitations as a child. Struggling from a congenital double inguinal hernia, he could not participate in many physical activities and thus was prevented from socialising with his peers. As he was often isolated, his love for literature developed. Once he learned to read, the young boy immediately became obsessed with books>An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object. >congenital, doubleEliot was basically a cripple in childhood, of course he would spend it all reading if child's play would cause him literal physical suffering.Why is there a character limit on the literature board of all things. Continued.
>>21805655>>21804915So, back to the question of normal expectations:>Back in the day it was expected from a twelve year old boy that he should know his Gulliver, his D. Quixote, his Long John Silver, and his Robison Crusoe, but now even for a teenager those are apparently "too much"Okay, so far so good. But then you recommend:1. read a lot of literature, from Gilgamesh to Pynchon, some 50 books a year, from the ages of 12-15 to 22-25, in at least two or three languages, but preferentially more.2. read carefully, trying to understand every line on at least a literal level.3. write, write, write, but do so following the traditional forms (sonnets, realist stories, things like that); learn the art of good imitation.4. translate.Eh. Okay, Mandelstam would supposedly memorize the Iliad so well he would recount the List of Ships to put himself to sleep, but then if you re-read the Iliad so much you don't quite have time to move up the list. Unless you hurry along on horseback in pursuit and get merely a glimpse.I'd rather my teenage son had read the Iliad and the Odyssey, then some Pushkin, and then spent most of the summers sportsballing around, unless he would turn out to be a literal cripple. It's better to read the Iliad while having an idea of passions and bodies involved than just wordswordswords.
>>21805655That anon reminds me of the negative aspect of past /lit/: the pompous, condescending anon. The anon who doesn’t realize you can be interested in literature as a hobby, even highbrow literature, and not need to live it. I’d rather read 30-50 books a year in my native language, even translations(Gasp!) than focus my whole life around reading.
>>21802774Anons, give me some of your favorite books or writers and I rate your taste and predict your future
>>21805756Philip fracassiChuck Palahniuk Stephan kingBeneath a pale skyPet semataryInvisible monsters
>>21805694I remember Borges in one of his Harvard lectures said you only really need a deep relationship with one or two texts to be a great poet or writer. He emphasised that the King James Version and Homer as some historical examples of these culture defining texts. How many books do you think men like Chaucer or Shakespeare read? I genuinely think stuffing hundreds of books down your gullet is counterproductive to even literary development.
>>21805499I don't doubt the importance of experience, I was just asking for something concrete. I'm sure plenty of lifelong NEETs in, say, their late twenties will have less life experience than my seventeen year old friend. Yes, many teenagers are insubstantial creatures, but what tangible events do they need before they're permitted into the club of Literature Understanders? Is it entirely ineffable? I don't feel satisfied by vaguely gesticulating at the word life or experience.
>>21805756The Sound and the FuryLa Regenta (Leopoldo Alas Clarín)Eumeswil - JüngerUlyssesThe magic mountainMiddlemarchWar and peaceEl CriticónUnironically the BibleKaramazovNot really in any order but The sound and the Fury is a clear first because the time and the place I was when that book came to me and what it did for me I can't be thankful enough.Also I'm twenty and studying a degree I have no interest in ever engaging in professionaly (Law), if that helps your predictions
>>218066076.5/10Some good books but you are still early in your reading career and haven’t delved much deeper yet. You feel misunderstood, and are hoping for an opportunity to break out of your shell. It will be important for you to be spontaneous. The first few times may lead to wounded pride and cringing at yourself but there will be payoff especially when you realize wounded pride isn’t that big of a deal and can be shaken off
>>21805756In no order and chosen in random from my favorites.Complete works of dunsanyDivine comedyComplete Blake Jean Paul richterVirgilStatius Li-he’s poetry,Clark Ashton smithEdward PollockSwinburne,Gaspard de la NuitMallarme Ming JaoGerard de nerval Spenser Ovid’s ibisMichael drayton Goethe
the bar is so low these days that as long as you're not reading some YA or romance, it's considered good
>>21804269Nice fanfiction anon, shorten it a bit and it will make a good copypasta
Half of having good taste is actually having any taste
>>21805916That's actually a good point, at least regarding writing and historical reading habits. You owned like maybe 5 books if you were merchant rich and read the fuck out of 2 of them.
>>21804269Wew, lad! Kek
>>21806756Yes, here's a similar quote from Ezra Pound:>Man can learn more about poetry by really knowing and examining a few of the best poems than by meandering about among a great many.
>>21804629> You've read 500 books in 3 languages? Post shelves or larp.Reading in 3 languages is only shocking to an american. 500 books is 5 years of reading at 100 books a year. That’s not even impressive.
>>21805916> How many books do you think men like Chaucer or Shakespeare read? Vastly different numbers considering the influence of the printing press. Did you not understand that when you grouped them together?
>>21807222I think that's pointing more towards focusing your efforts on the best rather than taking every work that comes along as needing serious analysis. You can read a lot, but when you read deeply and take the time to go through something again, it better be worth it.
>>21807397Of course it’s not impressive because that would mean you do little besides reading or skimming
>>21806607Have you read Absalom, absalom! anon?If The Sound and the Fury made an impression you'd probably enjoy it quite a bit. Quentin even makes a return, it's somewhat of a prequel. I rate both novels in my top 10.
>>218066679/10. Only reason I don’t give it a 10 is because we diverge a little in taste. I’ve seen you post in the past so I know you know your shit, and I respect it even if we don’t like the same things. I do love Nerval though. Goethe as well. I have a strange relationship with Goethe though where I like the man more than his work, and find him to be a “the sum is greater than the whole of the parts” writer. Maybe that’s why I really love Eckermann’s Conversations. Prediction wise, if I’m remembering correctly, you write poetry, and maybe have been published or have tried to get published. With that in mind, even though it’s cliche, I’d say to not compare yourself to others and to write from the heart. Good things will come if you do.
>>21805655>No, that is not true at all. They were not reading 'seriously' aka '500 books in 3+ languages from 12 till 22'. Barely anyone did in history of mankind.Yes, they were. The numbers may vary, for some it might be 100, for others 1000, but they were. (And I must clarify that when I say 'seriously' I mean seriously as a "common reader", i.e., with dedication and intellectual effort, even if not necessarily at a high level like a good critic would, which is of course impossible for a beginner.)>You simply concoct pompous bullshit to make random insecure strangers feel inadequate.Is that how you feel reading my post?>OP did not ask 'How do I become the most well-read and brilliant English language novelist of century XXI', he asked what amounts to how can he teach his palate to distinguish excellent if obscure works from well-known but merely goodYou can only judge literature if you know it deeply. Ultimately, with very few exceptions, only a poet can judge a poem, much like only a composer can judge a musical composition. I love music very much, have listened to hundreds of works from the Western musical "canon", from the Notre-Dame school to the spectralists and beyond, have taught myself how to read sheet music, have read texts by Copland, Boulez, Stravinsky, Wagner, and others, yet I cannot judge a musical composition other than superficially, and am fully conscious of this limitation of mine. I cannot play any instrument, have a bad ear, and my knowledge is severely lacking when it comes to the actual details and minutiae of the craft. I would never dare to write a book on musical criticism, even though I do have opinions and they are perhaps not entirely ignorant, but I know that I'd have nothing of relevance to say to a composer that he hasn't yet heard from others.>Not if you have le 500 tomes lined up to read from dusk till dawn you don't, lmaoDo you realize what you are saying?Suppose a person reads 15 pages per hour. The average book is supposedly around 250 pages according to Google. This means that, in order to finish an average book, you need a total of 16 hours, or a little more than 2 hours per day during seven days. A year has 52 weeks. This means that you can very easily read 52 books a year, as long as you read 2 hours a day on average.>>21805916>>21806756>>21807222Both Borges and Pound read many, many books before they were 25, which can be easily seen by anyone who reads their early critical essays.You need to know the canon, otherwise you will not be able to judge individual works. You can't *judge* Tasso if you don't know Petrarch, and you can't really *judge* Petrarch if you don't know the dolce stil novo, the troubadours, the goliards etc.After you've read that much, you will have your favorites, those ten or twenty books/poets that mean the most to you.>>21805210>Show us some of your poetry.I don't post it on 4chan (and it's not in English).>>21807397Correct. US education is rotten.
>>21807530To pick out a few acclaimed writers who were enmeshed in the literary world their whole life, and act like that’s the norm, is bad faith. In no time in history was it expected that someone should read 1000 books before they turn 25. Tbh, I wouldn’t even count books read before 18. The understanding of an adolescent is very different from an adult. If you are reading 100 books a year from 15-25, you fucked up big time
>>21807570>To pick out a few acclaimed writers who were enmeshed in the literary world their whole life,Nearly all of the good ones were. I could mention many, many others, nearly all of them. I am not sure that I know of any really good writer who was not deeply interested in literature already during his teenage years. The ones that come to memory - Gregory Corso, who got interested at age 24, and Murakami who got interested at age 29 - are not particularly good, at least not according to my personal judgement.It's not a rule, but it's almost a rule. It's not as radical as mathematics and music, but it's still very important, otherwise you'll just waste too much time on other things, and by the time you're 30 you'll have a job, old parents to take care of, possibly a wife, kids, etc., and you'll not have the leisure to develop your craft. Why take a much harder route when you can do it with leisure while you are young, reading two hours a day, and writing a few pages now and then?>In no time in history was it expected that someone should read 1000 books before they turn 25Correct, but I never said that.At any rate, it was certainly expected from a *poet* that he should be familiar with the canon and nearly all of the major authors, including Homer, Plato, Virgil, Dante, etc. As for the languages, just open any old book of criticism and you'll see how the author quite simply expects his reader to be able to understand passages in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, sometimes even Greek, and occasionally German.
>>21807530>Ultimately, with very few exceptions, only a poet can judge a poem, much like only a composer can judge a musical compositionOne does not need be a cook to know that a dish offered is shit. Especially so one does not need to go into the pizza camps and then make sauces and wash dishes for five years to know if a given dish is subpar or actually good.Ultimately any judgement of quality is based on a comparison to some values OUTSIDE the production of things you judge. If you can only compare texts to texts you CANNOT but be a relativist, since this is what you can only do - relate book number 500 to books from number 1 to number 499. What do you relate though? How long they are? The number of similes? Soulless numbers crunching.If the thing you relate to are your personal feelings, then the values you espouse belong to yourself, your holistic human experience, and not merely the numerical amount of books processed. They are also ineffable, since comprehension of one such man would demand you to be like him in all regards, which is impossible.Another option is dogmatism. One selects a Holy Text and the rest may as well burn if they deviate from the Quran in any way or merely repeat this eternal example. This can become dogmatic relativism, such as:- Only TS Eliot ever had the best taste in literature (dogma)- You are not TS Eliot- Ergo ngmi ...- If you had started your being TS Eliot at 12, you might have been less of a failure by approximating yourself to this arbitrary pinnacle of literary taste, thus being relatively less of a failure of good taste This is plain inhuman. How many texts do you think the blind Homer read lmao, especially so in his post-Bronze Age Collapse post apocalyptic society.So this leaves us a situation where one must have a purely subjective reaction to a piece of art, but one that is also validated by cross-comparison with other tasters. There is something PRECEDING art in you and your interlocutors that you can agree on and relate to the same way you cross-verify that an apple is indeed red and sweet or green and tart. Trying out different apple cultivars gives you appreciation of degrees of sweetness and tartness possible, but not the values (literal taste here) themselves.Thus the question of taste comes down to singling out and understanding this inner value that produces the reaction to art you experience, and THEN comparing reactions IT produces to different pieces of art.Refusing to find out this inner art by defaulting to dogmatic images of most esteemed writers is basically herd worship.Being an experienced writer allows you to evaluate the technical skill of the writer by comparing its supposed production value with your own experience of writing (not merely reading, no amount of written works make one a writer). This judgement of estimated technical merit is correct, I give you that. It does not mean one must be a PhD in Engineering to enjoy a car ride. Character limit again
>>21807530>>21808225Cont.There are exactly two activities where the form itself is the content and so they can be considered 'pure', that is removed from exclusive personal experience, that they would merit merely diving there and staying there - mathematics and music.Pure numbers - whether intervals and tones or surfaces, logic sequences, numerals. Poetry is language put to music of intervals alright, so one can produce some O Elbereth Gilthoniel which is pleasing in meter and due to all the sonorants but is gibberish in English, so you can relate only to purely impersonal appreciation of numbers in it.But then prose is not poetry. Prose relates to experiences outside the text and the form of the text, and these relations can't be understood, much less appreciated, if one lacks the lived experiences. One must either go Achilles on someone himself or personally observe people go psychotic with rage at perceived injustices to properly relate to and appreciate the Iliad, among other gold nuggets there, except drone on like a Russian Formalist that the numerical sequences are indeed regular and pleasing.Books speaking of lives and passions not yet lived would be like describing the color of sunset to one blind since birth.
>>21808225>No amount of read works make one a writerErrata
>>21804915>>21804956By 25 I had read thousands of books. We didn't have cable TV, nor high-speed internet until I left home. Reading, or playing ADND or daggerfall, was what people did in those days. Indeed, precisely because I played games like daggerfall, lucasarts adventures, and fallout I sought a variety of books to enrich my experience. Reading classics helped me develop an imagination and led to my career as a scholar. Now, in my thirties, I've also published works that indicate I've read thousands of books. I'm not adding the hundreds of trivialiteratur sorts either.
>>21805020I had read hundreds of classics and sci Fi fantasy by the end of high school. In fifth grade alone I read every published star wars book and several classics.
>>21807407The point is I doubt either of them came close to 500+
>>21807530I agree that you need to read hundreds and thousands of books to be a critic. I just don't think you need to be a good critic to be a good writer. Borges was a critic (as well as a writer of course) and he knew this; which is why he said that.
>>21802774Good taste is the ability to generate perspective and thought that's pretty much it. Someone could read almost entirely dogshit but If it provides them with a unique and useful understanding of the world then they have good taste. A man who reads obscure humor novels and is able to tell really good jokes and form a good personality has good taste, someone who reads far and wide in high lit but can't do anything but regurgitate poor criticism has bad taste.