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The Sublime
From Antiquity to the Present

$36.99 (G)

Timothy M. Costelloe, Malcolm Heath, Rodolphe Gasché, Melissa Meritt, Rachel Zuckert, Éva Madeleine Martin, Paul Guyer, David B. Johnson, John R. J. Eyck, Chandos Michael Brown, Emily Brady, Andrew Chignell, Matthew C. Halteman, Adam Potkay, Theodore Gracyk, Richard Etlin
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  • Date Published: July 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521143677

$ 36.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • This volume offers readers a unique and comprehensive overview of theoretical perspectives on “the sublime,” the singular aesthetic response elicited by phenomena that move viewers by transcending and overwhelming them. The book consists of an editor's introduction and fifteen chapters written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Part One examines philosophical approaches advanced historically to account for the phenomenon, beginning with Longinus, moving through eighteenth and nineteenth century writers in Britain, France, and Germany, and concluding with developments in contemporary continental philosophy. Part Two explores the sublime with respect to particular disciplines and areas of study, including Dutch literature, early modern America, the environment, religion, British Romanticism, the fine arts, and architecture. Each chapter is both accessible for nonspecialists and offers an original contribution to its respective field of inquiry.

    • Interdisciplinary, with essays by scholars of philosophy, English, history and American studies, German and Dutch studies, comparative literature, French, geography and architecture
    • The only book available that provides a comprehensive treatment of the subject both historically (from ancients to contemporary continental philosophy) and analytically (within different disciplines and approaches)
    • Essays accessible for the non-specialist while also making original contributions to the respective literatures
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present is a grid of essays on the theory of the sublime and on its realization in nature and art. One informs the other, and I don’t know of another book on the subject as systematic and wide-ranging."
    Ronald Paulson, The Johns Hopkins University

    "The Sublime: From Antiquity to the Present collects together an outstanding group of essays that will set the agenda for future studies of the sublime. It presents a superbly informed philosophical history of the category of the sublime from Longinus to postmodernism in the first part, and in the second a richly detailed thematic overview that demonstrates the continuing fascination of the sublime."
    Peter de Bolla, University of Cambridge

    "This wide-ranging collection of essays will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in assessing the historical importance of the concept of the sublime and its continuing relevance for contemporary philosophical discussion."
    Frances Ferguson, University of Chicago

    "The volume is best regarded as a reference work, suitable for research into specific topics … notable papers included are those of Rodolphe Gasche, Melissa Meritt, Paul Guyer, and Theodore Gracyk … Recommended …"
    R. Bonzon, Choice

    "Those interested in natural theology will find grist for their mill in this volume."
    Simon Vaughan, Transpositions (

    "The volume is very attractive in appearance. Larger in size than an ordinary scholarly book, printed on magazine-style glossy paper, it features a wealth of illustrations: reproductions of paintings, photos of architectural monuments, and maps of natural sites … it offers a balanced introduction to contemporary discussions related to the notion of the sublime, and would be an excellent text for a survey course, or even a graduate seminar."
    Max Statkiewicz, Monatshefte

    'Costelloe has put together this wide-ranging book of essays on the sublime in an attempt to demonstrate that the concept is not dead that there is still merit in treating it both theoretically and in its relevance to the present day.' Cressida Ryan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521143677
    • length: 313 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 177 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 36 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    'The sublime'. A short introduction to a long history Timothy M. Costelloe
    Part I. Philosophical History of the Sublime:
    1. Longinus and the ancient sublime Malcolm Heath
    2. … And the beautiful? Revisiting Edmund Burke's 'double aesthetics' Rodolphe Gasché
    3. The moral source of the Kantian sublime Melissa Meritt
    4. Imagination and internal sense: the sublime in Shaftesbury, Reid, Addison, and Reynolds Timothy M. Costelloe
    5. The associative sublime: Kames, Gerrard, Alison, and Stewart Rachel Zuckert
    6. The 'prehistory' of the sublime in early modern France: an interdisciplinary perspective Éva Madeleine Martin
    7. The post-Kantian German sublime Paul Guyer
    8. The postmodern sublime: presentation and its limits David B. Johnson
    Part II. Disciplinary and Other Perspectives:
    9. The 'subtler sublime': in modern Dutch aesthetics John R. J. Eyck
    10. The first American sublime Chandos Michael Brown
    11. The environmental sublime Emily Brady
    12. Religion and the sublime Andrew Chignell and Matthew C. Halteman
    13. The British romantic sublime Adam Potkay
    14. The sublime and the fine arts Theodore Gracyk
    15. Architecture and the sublime Richard Etlin.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory
    • Seminar: Romanticism
    • Topics in Aesthetics
  • Editor

    Timothy M. Costelloe, College of William and Mary, Virginia
    Timothy M. Costelloe is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of Aesthetics and Morals in the Philosophy of David Hume (2008) and The British Aesthetic Tradition (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).


    Timothy M. Costelloe, Malcolm Heath, Rodolphe Gasché, Melissa Meritt, Rachel Zuckert, Éva Madeleine Martin, Paul Guyer, David B. Johnson, John R. J. Eyck, Chandos Michael Brown, Emily Brady, Andrew Chignell, Matthew C. Halteman, Adam Potkay, Theodore Gracyk, Richard Etlin

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