Introduction to Terpsichore in Sneakers
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The word sublime is common currency today in colloquial French to suggest surprise and admiration, somewhat like America's great', but the idea connoted by it has belonged to the most rigorous kind of reflection on art. To be true to this displacement in which consists perhaps the whole of the difference between romanticism and the modern' avant-garde, one would have to read The sublime is now' not as The sublime is now' but as Now the sublime is like this'. In 1674 Boileau published his Art potique, but he also published Du Sublime, his translation or transcription from the Peri tou hupsou. At stake in these poetic-theological debates is the status of works of art. The aesthetics of the sublime is still more indeterminate: a pleasure mixed with pain, a pleasure that comes from pain. Avant-gardism is thus present in germ in the Kantian aesthetic of the sublime. There is something of the sublime in capitalist economy.