Of the Sublime: Presence in Question

Essays by Jean-Francois Courtine, Michel Deguy, Eliane Escoubas, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Louis Marin, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacob Rogozinski

Translated by Jeffrey S. Librett

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Paperback : 9780791413807, 255 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413791, 255 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents

Note on the Translation

Preface to the French Edition
Jean-Luc Nancy

1. The Discourse of Exaltation: Contribution to a Rereading of Pseudo-Longinus
Michel Deguy

2. The Sublime Offering
Jean-Luc Nancy

3. Kant or the Simplicity of the Sublime
Eliane Escoubas

4. Sublime Truth
Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe

5. The Interest of the Sublime
Jean-Francois Lyotard

6. The Gift of the World
Jacob Rogozinski

7. Tragedy amd Sublimity: The Speculative Interpretation of Oedipus Rex on the Threshold of German Idealism
Jean-Francois Courtine

8. On a Tower of Babel in a Painting by Poussin
Louis Marin

Afterword: Positing the Sublime: Reading Heidegger Reading Kant
Jeffrey S. Librett





Today, the sublime has again become the focus of sustained reconsideration, but now for its epistemological and ontological—or presentational—aspects. As an unmasterable excess of beauty, the sublime marks the limits of representational thinking. These essays will be indispensable reading for anyone whose work is concerned with the sublime or, more generally, with the limits of representation, including philosophers, literary scholars and art historians.

Jeffrey S. Librett is Assistant Professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University.


"With its ruined castles and uncanny ghosts, the sublime has always been the secret truth of deconstruction, and indeed of post-structuralism in general. Hence it comes that these essays were first collected under the auspices of a series called 'L'Extrême contemporain. ' Combining work by some of France's leading philosophers and by some of their most gifted students, it offers unique insights into the latest thinking about Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, and particularly Kant—the flesh-and-blood, passionate, divided, even violent Kant that we have been coming to see behind the impersonal mask of the Critiques. Rich in meditation and precise in philology, it is beautifully summed up by Louis Marin's concluding reflection on a painting of Nicolas Poussin. Jeffrey Librett's translation of the difficult texts is admirably faithful, idiomatic, and readable, and he contributes a lively essay on Heidegger as an overview of the collection's approaches and insights. " — Marshall Brown, University of Washington

"Many readers will discover something new about the topics of Kant and the sublime in these essays; they are all models of scholarship and well-attuned acts of reading. The translation is excellent. " — Peter Fenves, Northwestern University