A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (Google eBook)

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J. Dodsley, 1767 - Aesthetics - 342 pages
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Review: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

Fun book. Author makes distinctions between the sublime (or the great) and beauty. The level of detail is fascinating, and at some points quite humorous. Jagged, repetitious, infinite-like, dark, and ... Read full review

Review: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

User Review  - -- - Goodreads

Thought-provoking, but still something of a slog to get through. Burke subjectivizes aesthetics but avoids relativizing it, and, in so doing, essentially founds Romanticism. In this he is ... Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
41
III
95
IV
161
V
241
VI
311

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Page 1 - ON a superficial view, we may seem to differ very widely from each other in our reasonings, and no less in our pleasures : but notwithstanding this difference, which I think to be rather apparent than real, it is probable that the standard both of reason and taste is the same in all human creatures.
Page 335 - Certain it is, that the influence of most things on our passions is not so much from the things themselves, as from our opinions concerning them ; and these again depend very much on the opinions of other men, conveyable for the most part by words only.
Page 80 - It is by imitation far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more effectually, but more pleasantly. This forms our manners, our opinions, our lives.
Page 74 - But the case is widely different with the greater part of mankind; there is no spectacle we so eagerly pursue as that of some uncommon and grievous calamity; so that whether the misfortune is before our eyes, or whether they are turned back to it in history, it always touches with delight. This is not an unmixed delight, but blended with no small uneasiness.
Page 91 - ... as for those called critics, they have generally sought the rule of the arts in the wrong place ; they sought it among poems, pictures, engravings, statues, and buildings. But art can never give the rules that make an art. This is, I believe, the reason why artists in general, and poets, principally, have been confined in so narrow a circle : they have been rather imitators of one another than of nature...
Page 334 - ... we find by experience, that eloquence and poetry are as capable, nay indeed much more capable, of making deep and lively impressions than any other arts, and even than nature itself in very many cases.
Page 36 - ... upon all the objects that surround us, how lively at that time are our sensations, but how false and inaccurate the judgments we form of things ? I despair of ever receiving the same degree of pleasure from the most excellent performances of genius, which I felt at that age, from pieces which my present judgment regards as trifling and contemptible.
Page 250 - Antiquite, gives us a curious story of the celebrated physiognomist Campanella. This man, it seems, had not only made very accurate observations on human faces, but was very expert in mimicking such as were any way remarkable. When he had a mind to penetrate into the inclinations of those he had to deal with...
Page 336 - Besides many ideas have never been at all presented to the senses of any men but by words, as God, angels, devils, heaven, and hell, all of which have however a great influence over the passions.
Page 5 - A definition may be very exact, and yet go but a very little way towards informing us of the nature of the thing defined ; but let the virtue of a definition be what it will, in the order of things, it seems rather to follow than to precede our inquiry, of which it ought to be considered as the result.

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