Giuseppe Leone

La didascalia invisibile. Shelley e Turner: declinazione di Sublime

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Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful certainly should be mentioned among the texts which chiefly influenced English culture during the second half of the Eighteenth century. Published in 1757, the treatise can be considered an authentic turning point in Arts and Literature, drawing attention to the passion of the Sublime and producing a progressive shift "from an objective to a subjective discourse". This essay deals with the deep ascendency exerted by the Enquiry on Shelley's and Turner's productions. Driven by a highly evocative and imaginative spirit, the two authors investigate man's inner emotions, especially when assailing the mind while observing the immense power of Nature. A power which has the great capability of raising the passion of the sublime; i.e. the sensation felt by man when his gaze is caught by the immeasurable vastness of a boundless landscape, or it is trapped by the dreadful, charming vision of Nature expressing its vigorous supremacy: in that half-suspended state of the soul in which imagination, astonishment and fear eventually merge.

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