Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

personal liking

The critical judgment “This book is good or bad” implies good or bad at all times, but in relation to the readers future a book is good now if its future effect is good, and, since the future is unknown, no judgment can be made. The safest guide therefore is the naive uncritical principle of personal liking. A person at least knows one thing about his future, that however different it may be from his present, it will be his. However he may have changed he will still be himself, not somebody else. What he likes now, therefore, whether an impersonal judgment approve or disapprove, has the best chance of becoming useful to him later.
— W. H. Auden, from “Making, Knowing, and Judging”


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