The Sublime and Education

This volume offers a series of essays in which contributors meditate on how the concept of education intersects with sublime theory and Romantic aesthetics more generally. Broadly speaking, this volume produces a set of revisionary readings rooted in the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant and its place in our ongoing understanding of Romantic aesthetics and sublime theory. An underlying inspiration of this volume is the pedagogical theory of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who has thought widely about humanities-based training using Romantic-era texts as principal theoretical and literary tools, formative among them the aesthetic philosophy of Kant. This volume is edited and introduced by J. Jennifer Jones, with essays by Christopher Braider, Frances Ferguson, Paul Hamilton, Anne C. McCarthy, Forest Pyle, Deborah Elise White, and an afterword by Ian Balfour.

White, "Menace to Philosophy: Jacques Derrida and the Academic Sublime"

This essay explores how Derrida’s writings on the institutions of philosophy (primarily in __Du Droit à la Philosophie__) draw on the discourse of the sublime to rethink the university as a site of institutional responsibility. In the university, philosophy undergoes 'the risk of presentation'--at once exposing itself to and yet shielding itself from an apparently menacing exteriority. Through a sometimes ironic figuration of the sublime, Derrida explores how one can defend a right to philosophy and yet still strive to leave philosophy without defenses or defensiveness--that is, open to exteriority and to 'the entirely other of a terrifying future.' This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Pyle, "Letter on an Aestheticist Education"

Pyle's epistolary essay approaches the topic of a sublime education first as a particular pedagogical assignment: just how does one teach the sublime as a mode of aesthetic experience as well as a question posed for and by philosophical aesthetics. This directive prompts readings of two poems by Shelley which explicitly link aesthetic experience to forms of instruction: 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty' and 'Mont Blanc.' He argues that one lesson to be learned from Shelley's poetic teaching is an aestheticism. Subsequent sections in the essay address the implications of this aestheticism for those who resist it (de Man, Spivak) and those who don't (Wilde, Foucault). He concludes the essay by turning to a passage—at once sublime and pedagogical—from _The Triumph of Life_ which arrives at what he calls a genuinely radical aestheticism.. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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McCarthy, "Dumbstruck: Christabel, the Sublime, and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief"

McCarthy examines the conjunction of stupidity, the sublime, and suspension in Coleridge's _Christabel_. Seen in the context of _Christabel_, Coleridge's famous 'willing suspension of disbelief' should be understood as a dual posture of holding back (one's judgment or disbelief) and giving over (to the experience of the unknown)--that is, making oneself receptive to the dangers and potential elevations of sublime experience. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Jones, "Introduction: Romantic Training: Education and the Sublime"

'Romantic Training' introduces this special issue, which is devoted to exploring some of the ways we can think the entanglements of two concepts that are constitutive to Romanticism but are not often thought together, education and the sublime. As a means of introduction, this essay defines what has been a significant inspiration of this special issue: the possibility of an immanent pedagogical sublime. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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The Sublime and Education

This volume offers a series of essays in which contributors meditate on how the concept of education intersects with sublime theory and Romantic aesthetics more generally. Broadly speaking, this volume produces a set of revisionary readings rooted in the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant and its place in our ongoing understanding of Romantic aesthetics and sublime theory. An underlying inspiration of this volume is the pedagogical theory of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who has thought widely about humanities-based training using Romantic-era texts as principal theoretical and literary tools, formative among them the aesthetic philosophy of Kant. This volume is edited and introduced by J. Jennifer Jones, with essays by Christopher Braider, Frances Ferguson, Paul Hamilton, Anne C. McCarthy, Forest Pyle, Deborah Elise White, and an afterword by Ian Balfour.

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August, 2010

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Hamilton, "The Sublime: History of an Education"

The 'sublime', taken as an aesthetic category originating in Kant’s third Kritik, but by no means terminating there, has been read in strikingly symptomatic ways by late 20th-century theory. To review these different interpretations or uses of its antinomial structure is to appreciate the sublime’s continuing life in the ways in which we think the integrity, limitations and motivations of our contemporary intellectual procedures. This paper tries both to show the varieties of this ongoing education, and then to ask questions about the place of the originally aesthetic function of the sublime which these utilitarian expansions of it seem to entail. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Ferguson, "Educational Rationalization / Sublime Reason"

Educational discussion in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century increasingly focused on actions—what someone could be seen to do—and the values of those actions in a social context. Although Rousseau and Bentham stress the evaluations that the physical world or the social world continually supply a child's actions, Kant extends his view of morality even past their concern with disambiguated, nonformulaic action to argue that the centrality of moral thought is obvious in ordinary conversation—the methodized gossip of what he takes to be moral entertainments. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Balfour, "Afterthoughts on the Sublime and Education; or, 'Teachable Moments?'"

This essay provides a commentary on and critique of the other essays in the volume. It tracks the claims of the several essays with attention to the status of the examples adduced and the give and take between examples and theoretical paradigms. There is also some consideration of the historical continuities and discontinuities of the theory and the productions of the sublime. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland

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Braider, "Unlearning the Sublime"

The essay argues that, if the sublime continues to fascinate scholars and philosophers long after the critical dismantling of its metaphysical underpinnings in Kant, Hegel, and Romanticism, it is because it has found a refuge in the topology of critical thought as such. The solution of the ongoing problem of the sublime accordingly lies in investigating the afterlife this topology grants not only the sublime itself but metaphysics even (if not especially) for writers like Benjamin, Derrida, Agamben, and Zizek committed to the skeptical and/or materialist deconstruction of the transcendental pretensions the sublime keeps alive. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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