Of the Sublime: Presence in Question (Suny Series, Intersections)

Of the Sublime: Presence in Question (Suny Series, Intersections)

Language: English

Pages: 255

ISBN: 0791413799

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Today, the sublime has again become the focus of sustained reconsideration, but now for its epistemological and ontological or presentational aspects. As an unmasterable excess of beauty, the sublime marks the limits of representational thinking. These essays will be indispensable reading for anyone whose work is concerned with the sublime or, more generally, with the limits of representation, including philosophers, literary scholars and art historians."

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than in a brute . . . in fire than in earth. And the simplest quantity, which is unity, is more perceptible in an odd than in an even number; and the simplest colour, which is white, is more percep­ tible in orange than in green. Having therefore found what we are searching for, we declare the illustrious, cardinal, courtly, and curial vernacular language in Italy to be that which belongs to all the towns in Italy but does not appear to belong to any one of them, and by which all the municipal

consequence, art and reflexion on art are mutually exclusive. As soon as a theory of art appears, a knowledge or a sci­ ence, "it's all over for great art." This is the fundamental axiom on which rests the entirety of the introduction to the Lectures on Aesthetics and which the fig­ ure of Schiller emblematizes quite well, all in all, that "man gifted at once with a great artistic sense and with a profound philosophical spirit" who, in sacri­ ficing in part his art to science, "did nothing other

elsewhere:39 the more TEXVfl accomplishes itself, the more it effaces itself. The height of Jl.LJl.TlOLS is in its veiling and its dissimu­ lation. This is indeed in all probability what prompts Kant to say that the sub­ lime is to be found in simplicity. And it is also perhaps what Holderlin under­ stood by sobriety. But how is TEXVfl supposed to efface itself? As is well known, Longinus addresses this problem under the heading of the effacement of the figure (axflJl.a) which, he says, always

"nature," is realized through and in the Myos, and it is teachable. The text remarks the connection between the constitutive passivity of a nature (yEwatov mi9os) and the megalegorical, the "great-in-discourse" (�J.EYaA.Tjyopos). Ilci.Sos, our affectable nature, our "sensible intuition," can achieve the great in its speech, provided that TEXIITJ• categorical activity, ally itself synthetically with this pathos, (re)producing elevated discourse through the schematism of figures: the sub­

inscription on the temple of Isis (mother Nature): 'I am all that is, that was, and that will be, and no mortal has lifted my veil'" (§49, 146n; 160n). What is so sublime about this veiled figure? Is it the veil which covers it and its impossible unveiling-the metaphor of a truth which reveals itself only in the concealing movement of a primary opac­ ity, which no mortal would know how to render transparent? An entire epoch, before Kant and after him, allowed itself to be captivated by the enigma

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