Edmund Burke's Perception Of The Sublime In Northanger Abbey

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This essay attempts to examine the presence of Edmund Burke’s perception of the sublime in Northanger Abbey. In order to familiarise Burke’s work to this text, it is essential to recap on his theory of the sublime so as to get a more fluent understanding of the given task. Burke’s theory can then be applied to Northanger Abbey therefore analysing the set question. Edmund Burke is a scholar concerned with the ability to experience the sensitivity of the sublime conscience. His work ‘A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful’ introduces the idea of the sublime state on the mind. He believes that in order to experience the sublime, pain and pleasure must both be initially present. You must experience mental pain and fear with the recognition that this distress is of a fictional nature. It is then that the sense of pleasure is introduced in the delight of relief. (Burke 71) He also states that “If one gets too close to the perception, they no longer experience sublime emotions, only fear” (Burke 30) By this, he is stating that if a bizarre creature comes into contact which is too close, there will be no sense of a sublime relief, only the emotion of fear. Another concept which Burke addresses is the idea of ‘tranquillity’ or ‘indifference’ in this he states that; ‘When we have …show more content…

According to Edmund Burke, utter amazement as a result of excitement can also be a sublime experience. Catherine Morland, comes from a modest family in the small rural town in North Hampshire in England, so when the Allen family offers an invitation to visit Bath on a trip, Catherine undoubtedly accepts with sheer enthusiasm and anticipation at what lies ahead. Her vulnerability and innocence is highlighted in the opening chapters of the story “…she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid” (Austen 8), this highlights her openness to experiencing the

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