Clearly Marcia is right. It is not the word itself, "talent," that matters but the idea that some work is better than other work for aesthetic reasons that are, of course, historically framed.
Why mock Colley Cibber if there is no such thing as "talent," which he was seen to lack. The "coinage of the times" in this case is semantic only unless you have some philosophical and historically-based reason for your claim.
Even if talent wasn't discussed, even if it wasn't named, even if it was despised, it meant good work was written.
Peter Montgomery wrote:
In thosze days talent meant nothing
(invention of Rousseauian romantticists).
The innate ability if wit was the coinage of the times.
>>> Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> 12/17/08 10:28 AM >>>