That there is a connection between Romanticism and the sublime seems obvious, and it is indeed evident in the poetic, artistic, and musical production of European Romanticism as a whole. The sublime, as tension toward infinity, as elevation of the soul, and as experience of the absolute in nature, constitutes undoubtedly one of the characterizing features of the poetics of Romanticism. Much less known, however, is the theoretical reflection on the concept of the sublime, and in fact scholarship on the modern sublime tends to neglect its theoretical development after Kant and Schiller, moving directly to Nietzsche and the postmodern. The theoretical definition of the sublime, on the contrary, plays a far from secondary role in the aesthetic of German idealism, where it was not conceptualized in opposition to the beautiful, but rather as one of its constitutive moments. While no longer approached in relation to the aesthetic experience of nature, the sublime has been included in art theory, ostensibly losing its theo- retical centrality, but in reality contributing to modify radically the characteristics of the idea of the beautiful. That of philosophers is a form of crypto-sublime that is parallel but distinct from the sublime of poets and artists, and that operates underground to influence the definition of the forms of beauty. The present volume aims to outline the development of the philosophical conception of the sublime from Schiller, who formulated a theory of tragedy based on Kant’s philosophy and thereby laid the foundation of Romanticism, to the philosophers of the Hegelian school, who placed the sublime, together with the comic, the ugly, and the grotesque, at the center of aesthetic reflection.
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