Mario Vargas Llosa: The Corruption and Death of Culture and the Intellectual



Fine taste among the generality of men of letters can exist only while it is still uncorrupted.
 …….– Giacomo Leopardi,  Zibaldone

In a dismal and dismissal tone that monarch of literary taste T.S. Eliot once suggested that in a “formless age there is very little hope for the minor [author] to do anything worth doing” (I changed “poet” to “author).1 He would also speak of the need of great criticism, of the development of sensibility and a true sense of literary taste or critical awareness. He would castigate those like Walter Pater as non-critics, as aesthetes of literature – by which he meant mere appreciators who through their “arid cleverness build theoretical scaffolds upon one’s own perceptions,” a formless waste and accumulation of a mass of unstructured nonsense. While for him the “really appreciative mind” allows perceptions to form themselves as a structure, and criticism is the “statement in…

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