The Sublime, Today?

Glenn W. Most

in Dynamic Reading

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199794959
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949694 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

The Sublime, Today?

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In his contribution, “The Sublime, Today?” Glenn Most studies what he calls the “Lucretian sublime,” a concept he contrasts with the more familiar ancient notion of the “Longinian sublime.” As Most demonstrates, whereas the Longinian sublime depends upon a theistic perspective, the Lucretian sublime is rooted precisely in a rejection of that perspective. He then tests and works out this notion of the Lucretian sublime against a series of striking twentieth-century visual examples, especially drawn from the work of Mark Rothko. The positing and development of the Lucretian sublime allow us to understand the persistent presence of the sublime in modern art (as well as in critical discourse about that art) that itself rejects a theistic worldview.

Keywords: Lucretius; The Sublime; Longinus; nineteenth-century painting; twentieth-century painting; Caspar David Friedrich; Mark Rothko

Chapter.  9273 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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