Looks at the return of the sublime in post-modernity, and at intimations of a 'post-Romantic' sublime in Romanticism itself. The sublime is explored as a discourse of 'invention' -- taking the Latin meaning of to 'come upon', 'find', 'discover' that involves an encounter with the new, the unregulated and the surprising. Lyotard and Zizek, among others, have reconfigured the sublime for post-modernity by exceeding the subject-centred discourse of Romantic aesthetics, and promoting not a sublime of the subject, but of the unpresentable, the 'Real', the unknown, the other. 'Reinventing the Sublime' looks at 18th-century, Romantic, modernist and post-modern 'inventions' of the sublime alongside contemporary critical accounts of the relationship of sublimity to subjectivity, aesthetics, politics and history, including '9/11'. It reads Burke and Kant alongside post-modern discourses on the sublime, and Wordsworth, De Quincey and Mary Shelley in relation to temporality and materiality in Romanticism, and considers 'modernist' inflections of the sublime in T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes in relation to the themes of disjunction and excess in modernity.
The author examines the postmodern revisiting of the sublime in Thomas Pynchon, D.M Thomas and Toni Morrison, and draws on Lyotard's reading of the sublime as an aesthetic of the avant-garde and as a singular and disruptive 'event', to argue that the sublime in its post-modern and contemporary forms encodes an anxious but affirmative relationship to the ironies of temporality and history. 'Reinventing the Sublime' focuses on the endurance of the sublime in contemporary thinking, and on the way that the sublime can be read as a figure of the relationship of representation to temporality itself.
Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 450 g
Dimensions: 152 x 229 x 23 mm
"This is an important and thought-provoking book. Steven Vine provides a stimulating, ambitious, and exceptionally clearly written account of the ways in which the sublime has functioned as a central figure in theory and literature from the 18th century to the present. Through lucid expositions of contemporary theoretical ideas and insightful readings of key literary texts, Reinventing the Sublime develops a series of original, sometimes provocative and always compelling arguments about the continuing importance of sublime aesthetics for discussions of identity, history, ethics and politics. The precision of the writing and depth of scholarship makes this book essential reading for any scholar of post-Romantic literature and theory." --Dr Simon Malpas, department of English literature, University of Edinburgh
"Shifting critical focus from Romantic authors to the postmodern in an always carefully crafted, lucid prose, Vine brings to bear on his subjects a critical voice at the top of its game. Demonstrating why theoretical discourse matters, how it is not the antagonist to a sensitive materialist criticism, and why close reading still remains the hallmark of intellectual endeavor in the humanities, Reinventing the Sublime is, itself, a powerfully performative work. Not simply a first rate critical study, Steven Vine's book is an event." --Julian Wolfreys, professor of modern literature and culture, Loughborough University