Sublimity & the Image: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Exploration

Erika Goble


For over 2000 years, the sublime has been a source of fascination for philosophers, artists, and even the general public at times. We have written hundreds of treatises on the subject, put forth innumerable definitions and explanations, and even tried to reproduce it in art and literature. But, despite our efforts, our understanding of the sublime remains elusive. In this paper, the sublime is explored as a potential human experience that can be evoked by an image. Drawing upon concrete experiences, the phenomenon of sublimity suggests a compelling, embodied response to the visual object that can evoke a fundamental change of being.

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ISSN: 1913-4711