The sublime (sublimity) has been described as an experience, feeling, or judgment. As a positively valenced feeling, it is similar to excitement, astonishment, or awe. The concept become influential in aesthetics through the reception of pseudo-Longinus’s work of rhetoric, On the Sublime, where the sublime referred to that inspiring or overwhelming quality in great literary works or speeches. In the modern period, it became associated more with nature than art, and was distinguished from beauty. It was seen as a positive aesthetic experience in response to vast or powerful (apparently formless) objects such as waterfalls and mountains. As an aesthetic experience, the sublime is distinguished from moral feelings and outright fear. Given its emotional intensity, the sublime is distinguished from wonder and curiosity.
|Key works||It was through the reception of Pseudo-Dionysus's work of rhetoric, On the Sublime, and modern translations such as Longinus & Broom 1757, that the concept became influential in rhetoric and philosophy. Burke 1764 and Kant 2005 contributed influential accounts of sublimity.|
|Introductions||Shaw 2006 and Kirwan 2005 provide good introductions.|
- Kant: The Sublime (101)
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