The Sound of the Sublime: Notes on Burke as Time Goes By


Classical theories of the sublime—from Addison to Kant—privilege sight over the other senses, and disregard the temporality of the experience of the subject. Yet Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) also contains an alternative approach, namely an account of the sublime triggered by sounds, and crucially evolving in time. This article makes a case for Burke’s temporal grammar of sublime sonic patterns being relevant for analyzing past and contemporary objects, such as musical representations of war.

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