Catalogue


The skeptical sublime : aesthetic ideology in Pope and the Tory satirists /
James Noggle.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
description
ix, 269 p.
ISBN
0195142454 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
isbn
0195142454 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4588344
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-04-01:
In this impressive and original study, Noggle (Wellesley College) examines the relations between the discourse of the sublime and philosophical skepticism and describes the way both serve to upset epistemological stability. The bulk of the book is given to close readings of poetry--mostly satirical, mostly Tory--from the Restoration through the middle of the 18th century. The author devotes four chapters to Pope (An Essay on Man, the Horatian imitations, the Moral Essays, and the Dunciad) and the others to Rochester's "Satyr against Reason and Mankind," Dryden's State of Innocence, and Swift's Tale of a Tub. The range is broad, touching on poetics, philosophy, psychology, and politics. Noggle demonstrates considerable learning and an impressive grasp of both the primary sources and secondary scholarship. The book's greatest weakness is its dense style, which confines its accessibility to specialists. Those specialists, though, will find it important and challenging. Recommended for graduate students through faculty. J. T. Lynch Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The importance of James Noggle's fine study lies both in its challenge to our expectations of where we are likely to encounter the sublime, and in its realignment of the trope's philosophical affiliations.... This study ends with a compelling discussion of the final Dunciad."--Times Literary Supplement
"The importance of James Noggle's fine study lies both in its challenge to our expectations of where we are likely to encounter the sublime, and in its realignment of the trope's philosophical affiliations.... This study ends with a compelling discussion of the final Dunciad."--Times LiterarySupplement
"The importance of James Noggle's fine study lies both in its challenge toour expectations of where we are likely to encounter the sublime, and in itsrealignment of the trope's philosophical affiliations.... This study ends with acompelling discussion of the final Dunciad."--Times Literary Supplement
"The importance of James Noggle's fine study lies both in its challenge to our expectations of where we are likely to encounter the sublime, and in its realignment of the trope's philosophical affiliations.... This study ends with a compelling discussion of the final Dunciad ."-- Times Literary Supplement
"The importance of James Noggle's fine study lies both in its challenge to our expectations of where we are likely to encounter the sublime, and in its realignment of the trope's philosophical affiliations.... This study ends with a compelling discussion of the finalDunciad."--Times LiterarySupplement
1. Introduction: The Skeptical Sublime - Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists 2. The Abyss of Reason: Rochester, Dryden, and the Skeptical Origins of Sublimity 3. Civil Enthusiasm in A Tale of a Tub 4. The Public Universe: An Essay on Man and the Limits of the Sublime Tradition 5. Pope's mitations of Horace and the Authority of Inconsistency 6. Knowing Ridicule and Skeptical Reflection in the Moral Essays 7. Modernity and the Skeptical Sublime in the Final Dunciad Notes Bibliography Index
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2002
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This title examines the role of scepticism in initiating the idea of the sublime in British literature. The author draws on philosophy, history, and critical theory to illuminate the aesthetic ideology of Pope, Swift, Dryden, and Rochester.
Long Description
This book argues that philosophical skepticism helps define the aesthetic experience of the sublime in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature, especially the poetry of Alexander Pope. Skeptical doubt appears in the period as an astonishing force in discourse that cannot be controlled--"doubt's boundless Sea," in Rochester's words--and as such is consistently seen as affiliated with the sublime, itself emerging as an important way to conceive of excessive power in rhetoric, nature, psychology, religion, and politics. This view of skepticism as a force affecting discourse beyond its practitioners' control links Noggle's discussion to other theoretical accounts of sublimity, especially psychoanalytic and ideological ones, that emphasize the sublime's activation of unconscious personal and cultural anxieties and contradictions. But because The Skeptical Sublime demonstrates the sublime's roots in the epistemological obsessions of Pope and his age, it also grounds such theories in what is historically evident in the period's writing. The skeptical sublime is a concrete, primary instance of the transformation of modernity's main epistemological liability, its loss of certainty, into an aesthetic asset--retaining, however, much of the unsettling irony of its origins in radical doubt. By examining the cultural function of such persistent instability, this book seeks to clarify the aesthetic ideology of major writers like Pope, Swift, Dryden, and Rochester, among others, who have been seen, sometimes confusingly, as both reactionary and supportive of the liberal-Whig model of taste and civil society increasingly dominant in the period. While they participate in the construction of proto-aesthetic categories like the sublime to stabilize British culture after decades of civil war and revolution, their appreciation of the skepticism maintained by these means of stabilization helps them express ambivalence about the emerging social order and distinguishes their views from the more providentially assured appeals to the sublime of their ideological opponents.
Long Description
This book examines the role of scepticism in initiating the idea of the sublime in early modern British literature. James Noggle draws on philosophy, intellectual history, and critical theory to illuminate the aesthetic ideology of Pope, Swift, Dryden, and Rochester among other important writers of the period. The Skeptical Sublime compares the view of sublimity presented by these authors with that of the dominant, liberal tradition of eighteenth-century criticism to offer a new understanding of how these writers helped construct proto-aesthetic categories that stabilized British culture after years of civil war and revolution, while at the same time their scepticism allowed them to express ambivalence about the emerging social order.
Main Description
This book argues that philosophical skepticism helps define the aesthetic experience of the sublime in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British literature, especially the poetry of Alexander Pope. Skeptical doubt appears in the period as an astonishing force in discourse that cannot becontrolled--"doubt's boundless Sea," in Rochester's words--and as such is consistently seen as affiliated with the sublime, itself emerging as an important way to conceive of excessive power in rhetoric, nature, psychology, religion, and politics. This view of skepticism as a force affectingdiscourse beyond its practitioners' control links Noggle's discussion to other theoretical accounts of sublimity, especially psychoanalytic and ideological ones, that emphasize the sublime's activation of unconscious personal and cultural anxieties and contradictions. But because The SkepticalSublime demonstrates the sublime's roots in the epistemological obsessions of Pope and his age, it also grounds such theories in what is historically evident in the period's writing. The skeptical sublime is a concrete, primary instance of the transformation of modernity's main epistemological liability, its loss of certainty, into an aesthetic asset--retaining, however, much of the unsettling irony of its origins in radical doubt. By examining the cultural function of suchpersistent instability, this book seeks to clarify the aesthetic ideology of major writers like Pope, Swift, Dryden, and Rochester, among others, who have been seen, sometimes confusingly, as both reactionary and supportive of the liberal-Whig model of taste and civil society increasingly dominantin the period. While they participate in the construction of proto-aesthetic categories like the sublime to stabilize British culture after decades of civil war and revolution, their appreciation of the skepticism maintained by these means of stabilization helps them express ambivalence about theemerging social order and distinguishes their views from the more providentially assured appeals to the sublime of their ideological opponents.
Main Description
This book examines the role of skepticism in initiating the idea of thesublime in early modern British literature. James Noggle draws on philosophy,intellectual history, and critical theory to illuminate the aesthetic ideologyof Pope, Swift, Dryden, and Rochester among other important writers of theperiod.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Skeptical Sublime - Aesthetic Ideology in Pope and the Tory Satirists
The Abyss of Reason: Rochester, Dryden, and the Skeptical Origins of Sublimity
Civil Enthusiasm in A Tale of a Tub
The Public Universe: An Essay on Man and the Limits of the Sublime Tradition
Pope's mitations of Horace and the Authority of Inconsistency
Knowing Ridicule and Skeptical Reflection in the Moral Essays
Modernity and the Skeptical Sublime in the Final Dunciad
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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