Notions of the sublime are most often associated with the extraordinary, and include the intra-psychic, high-cultural and exceptional occurrences of elation and exaltation as part of the experience. Using psychoanalytic and aesthetic theories, this book aims to revitalise the sublime by re-evaluating its significance for contemporary life and, in a unique and fascinating endeavour, opens up a space that explores the sublime in the ordinary, everyday and quotidian.
Through the exploration of familiar (i.e. love, death, art and nature) and unfamiliar (pornography, education and politics) threads of the sublime experience, this book posits the sublime as invoking an ordinary human response which contains minute, inter-psychic, inclusive and even mass-media cultural elements, and carries within it therapeutic and political potential. It explores loving and caring, as well as hateful, traumatic and destructive encounters with the sublime, demonstrating how it can overflow and destabilise our psychological and social symbolic structures and expose their fictional and constructed nature, but also shows it as something we can engage with in order to re-create and heal ourselves, above and beyond what any ‘given’ form of reality can offer us.
Demonstrating the urgent need to understand the sublime as something that is immanent in our everyday life, a source of energy and inspiration that can be invoked to support our mental health and well-being, this book will be of great interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and art therapists, as well as scholars and students of philosophy and popular culture.