The musicality of the past: Sehnsucht, trauma, and the sublime

Abstract
This paper argues that the sublime feeling can only announce itself as a paradoxical mixture of pain and pleasure in an experience of a lost or irrevocable past. Presenting the typical evanescence and inevitable deferral of the past in musical terms, this paper rewrites the sublime feeling as a musical feeling: a suspended feeling wavering in-between apparently opposite intensities of tension and respite. This suspended feeling is analyzed through a juxtaposition of the sublime with Sehnsucht, or the potentially endless longing for an irretrievable past, and trauma, or the potentially endless rehearsal of an unforgettable past.
Keywords PAST   SUBLIME   MUSIC   ROMANTICISM   TRAUMA   EXPERIENCE   SEHNSUCHT
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