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Title:The Sublime and the Dutiful: Ethics and Excess From Edwards to Melville
Author(s):Vaughn, William Martin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Baym, Nina
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:Especially since Kant, the sublime has been formulated as a subjective, interior experience, the practical effects of which bear out equivalently ego-centric---or, in the historical sense, nation-specific---interests. But that conception of sublimity, whether derived from Kant or the empirical approach exemplified by Edmund Burke, represents but one, transcendent version of the category: a version that derives its force from a subject's ability to recover itself at a level beyond that at which it is threatened. If, however, we take as the basis of the sublime that threat to a subject's integrity, there exist at least two additional experiences of the category: one in which a subject immanently dissolves into something larger than itself, and another in which it ecstatically stands out from itself, and toward another. Each of these versions of the sublime---transcendent, immanent, and ecstatic---bears its own ethical implications. We can see these implications illustrated and evaluated within the work of such early American authors as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Brockden Brown, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville. Each, in his own way, shows how the sublime can be dutiful---how it can constitute not one self's recovered and isolated sense of itself, but rather its constitutive connection to others.
Issue Date:1998
Description:333 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9912407
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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