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The Politics of the Pre-Aesthetic Sublime in Seventeenth-Century England
Jun 13, 2018 11:00 AM
Blank Space in the Lansdowne Longinus
May 24, 2018 10:30 AM
Anaxagoras on the Human Hand
Apr 18, 2015 11:30 AM


Milton and the Idea of the Sublime in the Seventeenth Century

Though Milton has always been spoken of in terms of sublimity, scholarship has never fully considered the concept of the sublime in relation to Milton’s work. This is no doubt because the sublime has been perceived as a largely post-Miltonic concept first formulated in the context of eighteenth-century aesthetic theory by such figures as Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant. This research, building on recent scholarship on the sublime in classical antiquity and the Renaissance, will provide both a historical exposition of the sublime as a pre-aesthetic concept and an exegesis of the sublime in Milton’s poetry.

The Lansdowne Longinus

An important part in the history of the sublime is played by the ancient Greek treatise On the Sublime ascribed to Longinus. While it was once thought that Europeans had little knowledge of this work before the 1674 translation into French by Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, scholarship over the past few decades has steadily increased the evidence for a wider dissemination of the text before this, especially on the Continent. This research adds to the evidence by revealing a previously unknown translation of Longinus in the Lansdowne collection of manuscripts at the British Library which may antedate Boileau’s version and the translations that followed it.