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The challenge of the sublimeFrom Burke's Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art$
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Hélène Ibata

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526117397

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526117397.001.0001

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Presenting the unpresentable: the modernity of Burke’s Enquiry

Presenting the unpresentable: the modernity of Burke’s Enquiry

(p.61) 2 Presenting the unpresentable: the modernity of Burke’s Enquiry
The challenge of the sublime

Hélène Ibata

Manchester University Press

Chapter 2 furthers the argument that Burke’s Enquiry presented a challenge to visual artists by focusing on its contribution to theories of artistic representation. It places Burke’s views on painting’s representational inadequacy within a broader reflection about the artistic medium, mimesis, and the presentation of the unpresentable. After arguing that the Enquiry outlines a shift from a mimetic conception of art to one which emphasises the artistic medium and, ultimately, the process of production of the artwork, the chapter examines the relevance of the Enquiry to modern aesthetics, by viewing it from the perspective of recent theories of the sublime (Lyotard’s in particular). This approach makes it possible to see in Burke’s conception intimations of what could be called an aesthetics of endeavour, in which the sublime becomes an immanent event of artistic production.

Keywords:   Burke, Lyotard, Representation, Mimesis, Artistic medium, Artistic process, Creative endeavour, Unpresentable

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