Judith Brown

4:00p-5:15p TR (15 students) 3 cr. IW.

TOPIC: “Sublime Variations”

Awesome. In a word, this sums up, at least in twenty-first- century vernacular, the aesthetic and affective category of the sublime. Or does it? In the first half of this class, we will read historically influential accounts of the sublime, beginning with Longinus, Burke, and Kant, and will look at some significant Romantic poetic responses to the sublime (Wordsworth and Keats), as well as some artistic ones (Turner). Around mid-semester, we will turn to the twentieth-century. While the sublime has traditionally referred to aspects of art that defy description, we will see if we can locate a specifically modern articulation of the sublime. Do we invoke it when we say “awesome”? Our focus will be on the early decades of the century and the ways that the sublime may have been translated for the modern age, using abstraction and obscurity, for example, and linking technology with death. We will think about the developing field of psychoanalysis, reading Freud and then works by Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Wallace Stevens, Jean Toomer, and Jean Rhys.

This class is the required junior seminar for the Honors English Program. Any other students must have the permission of the instructor in order to register. Assignments will include a presentation, mid-term and final papers (both 8 pages), and possibly an art project.