The American Sublime

Edited by Mary Arensberg

Subjects: Poetry
Paperback : 9780887061905, 218 pages, June 1986
Hardcover : 9780887061899, 218 pages, June 1986

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Table of contents

1. Introduction: The American Sublime
Mary Arensberg
2. Sublime Politics
Donald Pease
3. On the Border of History: Whitman and the American Sublime
Joseph Kronick
4. Dickinson and the Haunting of the Self
Helen Regueiro Elam
5. Emily Dickinson's Calculated Sublime
Gary Lee Stonum
6. Kant and Stevens: The Dynamics of the Sublime and the Dynamics of Poetry
Michael T. Beehler
7. White Mythology and the American Sublime: Stevens' Auroral Fantasy
Mary Arensberg
8. In the Twilight of the Gods: Women Poets and the American Sublime
Joanne Feit Diehl


American poetics has been radicalized in recent years by revisionist theories which replay and ground poets against their Romantic precursors. Beginning with the sublime politics of Emerson and ending with women poets who renounce the authority of gender, The American Sublime represents the various modes of recent critical thinking.

This collection of essays takes up the mapping of the American sublime begun by Harold Bloo. Prefaced by an introduction that traces the sublime from its origins in Longinus through Kant, Freud and Bloom, the essays focus on central American poetic scenes. These include the transparency of Emerson's vision of the sublime, Whitman's passage to India, Dickinson's corridors of the soul, and Stevens' contemplation of death in the auroras.

Mary Arensberg is Lecturer in English at The State University of New York at Albany.