An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Everyone carries his own inch rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.


Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918, American historian)


What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.


Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet)


Everyone has taste, yet it is more of a taboo subject than sex or money. The reason for this is simple: claims about your attitudes to or achievements in the carnal and financial arenas can be disputed only by your lover and your financial advisers, whereas by making statements about your taste you expose body and soul to terrible scrutiny. Taste is a merciless betrayer of social and cultural attitudes. Thus, while anybody will tell you as much as (and perhaps more than) you want to know about their triumphs in bed and at the bank, it is taste that gets people's nerves tingling.


Stephen Bayley (1951-, British design critic)


Taste is more to do with manners than appearances. Taste is both myth and reality; it is not a style.


Stephen Bayley (1951-, British design critic)


Lovers of painting and lovers of music are people who openly display their preference like a delectable ailment that isolates them and makes them proud.


Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003, French literary theorist, author)


A man's palate can, in time, become accustomed to anything.


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, French general, emperor)


Bad taste is a species of bad morals.


John Christian Bovee (1820-1904, American author, lawyer)


People care more about being thought to have taste than about being thought either good, clever or amiable.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


Without taste genius is only a sublime kind of folly. That sure touch which the lyre gives back the right note and nothing more, is even a rarer gift than the creative faculty itself.


Vicomte De Chateaubriand (1768-1848, French politician, writer)


The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


No taste is so acquired as that for someone else's quality of mind.


Cyril Connolly (1903-1974, British critic)


It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.


Salvador Dali (1904-1989, Spanish painter)


A man is known by the books he reads, by the company he keeps, by the praise he gives, by his dress, by his tastes, by his distastes, by the stories he tells, by his gait, by the notion of his eye, by the look of his house, of his chamber; for nothing on earth is solitary but every thing hath affinities infinite.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Every orientation presupposes a disorientation.


Hans Magnus Enzensberger


Taste is the feminine of genius.


Lord Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883, British scholar, poet)


I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines; and, I believe, Dorothy, you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


Taste is nothing but an enlarged capacity for receiving pleasure from works of imagination.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


One of the surest evidences of an elevated taste is the power of enjoying works of impassioned terrorism, in poetry, and painting. The man who can look at impassioned subjects of terror with a feeling of exultation may be certain he has an elevated taste.


Benjamin Haydon (1786-1846, British artist)


One of the surest evidences of an elevated taste is the power of enjoying works of impassioned terrorism, in poetry, and painting. The man who can look at impassioned subjects of terror with a feeling of exultation may be certain he has an elevated taste.


Benjamin Haydon (1786-1846, British artist)


My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


It is conventional to call "monster" any blending of dissonant elements. I call "monster" every original inexhaustible beauty.


Alfred Jarry (1873-1907, French playwright, author)


Taste cannot be controlled by law.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


Between good sense and good taste there lies the difference between a cause and its effect.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Taste is the fundamental quality which sums up all the other qualities. It is the nec plus ultra of the intelligence. Through this alone is genius the supreme health and balance of all the faculties.


Isidore Ducasse, Comte De Lautreamont (1846-1870, French author, poet)


I cannot cure myself of that most woeful of youth's follies -- thinking that those who care about us will care for the things that mean much to us.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


Good taste is either that which agrees with my taste or that which subjects itself to the rule of reason. From this we can see how useful it is to employ reason in seeking out the laws of taste.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


What is food to one man is bitter poison to others.


Lucretius (c.95-55 BC, Roman poet and philosopher)


Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last ditch stand of the artist.


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Canadian communications theorist)


Errors of taste are very often the outward sign of a deep fault of sensibility.


Jonathan Miller (1934-, British actor, director)


There is taste in variety, and variety in taste.


Nicaraeuan Proverb


Taste is tiring like good company.


Francis Picabia (1878-1953, French painter, poet)


Taste is the enemy of creativeness.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


It takes taste to account for taste.


Spanish Proverb (Sayings of Spanish origin)


For a long time I found the celebrities of modern painting and poetry ridiculous. I loved absurd pictures, fanlights, stage scenery, mountebanks backcloths, inn-signs, cheap colored prints; unfashionable literature, church Latin, pornographic books badly spelt, grandmothers novels, fairy stories, little books for children, old operas, empty refrains, simple rhythms.


Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891, French poet)


I wish you all manner of prosperity, with a little more taste.


Alain-Rene Le Sage


A man of great common sense and good taste -- meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Good taste is the worst vice ever invented.


Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964, British poet)


Taste has no system and no proofs.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continually restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated. It is good for the digestion.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


The hard truth is that what may be acceptable in elite culture may not be acceptable in mass culture, that tastes which pose only innocent ethical issues as the property of a minority become corrupting when they become more established. Taste is context, and the context has changed.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


I think "taste" is a social concept and not an artistic one. I'm willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else's living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another's brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves.


John Updike (1932-, American novelist, critic)


To possess taste, one must have some soul.


Marquis De Vauvenargues (1715-1747, French moralist)


Absolute catholicity of taste is not without its dangers. It is only an auctioneer who should admire all schools of art.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Good taste is the excuse I've always given for leading such a bad life.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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