Chapter

The Media of Sublimity: Johnson and Lamb on King Lear

Jonathan Arac

in Impure Worlds

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231782
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241149 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823231782.003.0002
The Media of Sublimity: Johnson and Lamb on King Lear

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Lamb's essay is one of the rare romantic works that actually much used the term “sublime” that clearly displays the transfer of religious terms of value into a new psychological space. The “semi-ethnical criterion” of “sublimity” which started in the early 1970s banished the canonical discourse of literary modernism. The history of the sublime in our cultural practices, our reading and our discourse of reading, is intimately bound up with what in Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault explored as the genealogy of the “post-Christian soul”. Contrary to the almost unanimous belief in our current critical speculation, the sublime does not always function for liberation; it has served as an agency of consolidation, and it may again. In addition, the comparison between Lamb and Johnson is discussed.

Keywords: Johnson; Lamb; sublime; religious terms; semi-ethnical criterion; sublimity; consolidation; modernism

Chapter.  4241 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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