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Seeking Out the Sublime

Way back in the First or maybe the Third Century AD, there was a Greek rhetorician and literary critic named Longinus who wrote a little treatise titled On the Sublime. He riffed on its essence (“the echo of greatness of soul”), championed risky writers (“bold, lawless, and original”), and tried to track down the wellsprings of sublimity (“great thoughts, strong emotions, certain figures of thought and speech, noble diction, and dignified word arrangement”). Later, in 18th-century Europe, an aesthetic cult called the Romantics revived the notion of the sublime, taking it to extremes and passing it forward to the modern world. This Thursday at 7 p.m., scholar and critic Robert Hobbs will deliver a lecture, “The Contemporary Sublime,” looking at its influence on abstract expressionism and our own post-postmodern age, as well as what Hobbs’s statement outlines as “its technological, traumatic, abject, racial, feminist, ecological, and terrorist aspects.” The talk will take place at the De la Cruz Collection, and admission is free.
Thu., Sept. 9, 7 p.m., 2010


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