I've been looking on Amazon.com to try to find some more books, articles and authors on the sublime, and I found an absolutely overwhelming array of information. I now have dozens of new sources to explore that have to do with every aspect of the sublime, from original definitions to artistic renditions and purely modern applications. I'm beginning to understand what Burke meant when he described "that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror" (On the Sublime and Beautiful), because this is the exact state I feel myself in with this project. There is just so much information, so many places to look, aspects to consider, people to contact, books and articles to read. Maybe there's a reason that they call it Amazon, because I feel like one of those early jungle explorers, faced with a new, unfamiliar and terrifying world. I start somewhere that makes sense to me, like with Edmund Burke or Emmanuel Kant, two prominent theorists on the sublime, and then I make natural connections from there: to related articles/books, citations within the book, books that have cited books I'm interested in, other books with the same tags, and so on ad nauseam. Soon I have no idea where I am or how I got there, and no chance of finding my way back to the safety of familiar text. The research and possibilities have become so expansive and all-encompassing that I hardly know what to do with them, and after spending hours on Amazon, Google Scholar and in the Blogosphere I have enormous amounts of information but no ability to process it all into anything cohesive. It's my motions of thought that have been suspended, and the infinite realms of academic and philosophical possibility that's brought me a sense of Burke's horror. I think the sublimity of the internet may be too much for me - I've been desperately craving some good literary analysis with just me, a solid, entirely non-digital text, and a pen. Maybe after some of that I'll be ready to jump back in and try to tackle this ridiculous expanse of information that we call the Internet.
The image at the beginning of this post, by the way, is of the Amazon rainforest burning. I think it well depicts an aspect of terror and the inability to control outside forces, which is a key element of the sublime. It is also what I would like to do to Amazon.com and modern technology: strip it down so that only the strongest materials are left, remove all the cluttering underbrush and give it the chance to start fresh.