Monday, June 7, 2010

Sublime events

I've been looking for events and people currently involved with research related to the sublime. It's a common enough topic in the literary world, as well as in art and architecture, and it's been looked at from many very diverse perspectives, which makes it interesting trying to find sources that I can relate to my research, which is on the search for the sublime in our modern technological world. It's been difficult to find actual events or conferences on or including this topic, and I haven't managed to find online events or recorded content that I'd actually be able to listen to or participate in, but I have found some past and present conferences that deal with the sublime - predominantly in the UK, interestingly enough.

First I found a conference on Medieval and Early Modern Authorship, by the Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies, which will take place between June 30th and July 2nd this year at the University of Geneva. In this conference Patrick Cheney, a Penn State professor, will present on English Authorship and the Early Modern Sublime. I looked up Cheney and found that one of his research interests is theories of the sublime, and he wrote a book called Marlowe's Republican Authorship: Lucan, Liberty, and the Sublime. I couldn't make any sense of the reviews I found for this book, but it may be interesting to look at. I also found that Cheney spoke at a conference on The Classical Sublime at Cambridge University in 2008, which focused on classical theorizations and representations of the sublime and their impact on later understanding of the sublime. The information about this conference was on the blog Rogueclassicism, which details another conference at the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition, University of Briston. This conference, which will take place July 8-9 this year, is titled Reception and the Gift of Beauty in the Western Tradition, and one of the major topics of discussion is the sublime (focusing on the 'beauty' aspect). This event has a Facebook page as well, though there is very little content on the page.

I don't know how helpful any of this might be for my research, but it does show me that the idea of the sublime is continuing to be explored, and it has given me some new people with connections to the sublime who I can further research or even attempt to contact. I also am continually reminded of the multidisciplinary nature of the sublime, as I find the term popping up on pages relating not only to literature, but philosophy, religion, art and even medicine. I'm hoping that I can find more that relates directly to the modern technological aspect I'm focusing on, but I have been able to find connections between my project and many different studies of the sublime; in fact, connections to more traditional literary uses of the sublime is essential to my exploration of this topic. Let me know any of your thoughts/findings.


  1. On that Rogueclassicism page about the conference that Cheney spoke at, it looked like they referenced the film work of David Lynch. I've never heard of him, but that sounds like something more modern you could look into. I looked up him and it looks like some of his films are kind of dark, but widely acclaimed as original and beautiful. Maybe looking into his take on the sublime could help you.

    By the way, good job referencing your topic/thesis early on in your post. It made it very easy to follow.

  2. David Lynch is great. Heather's right - a lot of his stuff is dark, but fascinating. For a kid-friendly, deeply moving film that includes lots of beautiful landscapes, look at Lynch's "The Straight Story." It's at the Provo Library, and probably at the LRC.

  3. Ok, maybe helpful, maybe not. I was SO interested when you said the sublime can relate to science! Being a physiology freak myself, I had to research! On the Rogueclassicism page I looked up Alessandro Schiesaro and that's what he does! Science and the sublime! Here's a conference he spoke at his talk entitled "Poeta Creator: Poetry Creates the World" So maybe you could take a different angle for the final and focus on the sublime in science. I found a site where it talks about Emerson and how his Nature emerged from combining science and the sublime.
    I would be very interested in this aspect of the modern sublime!