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Reinventing the Sublime
Reinventing the Sublime

Reinventing the Sublime

Post-Romantic Literature and Theory

LITERARY CRITICISM

272 Pages, 6.5 x 9.5

Formats: PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket, Cloth, Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $34.95 (US $34.95) (CA $41.99)

Publication Date: June 2014

ISBN 9781845196752

Rights: US & CA

Sussex Academic Press (Jun 2014)

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Overview

This study looks at the return of the sublime in postmodernity literature as well as the intimations of a “post-Romantic” sublime in Romanticism itself. It examines 18th-century, Romantic, modernist, and postmodern “inventions” of the sublime alongside contemporary critical accounts of the relationship of sublimity to subjectivity, aesthetics, politics, and history. It reads Burke and Kant alongside postmodern discourses on the sublime; 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 book 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.

Reviews

"By drawing attention to the variety of ways in which ideas of identity have been challenged by encounters with the ineffable, the terrifying, and the boundless, Vine’s elegant and persuasive study advances our understanding of the concept of the sublime considerably. In addition to presenting challenging new accounts of the sublime in the English Romantic period, an especially valuable aspect of Reinventing the Sublime is its focus on the reinvention of the concept as ‘queer’ or ‘traumatic’ in modernist and postmodernist writings."  —Philip Shaw, professor of English, University of Leicester

"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