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Synopsis

Christine Battersby is a leading thinker in the field of philosophy, gender studies and visual and literary aesthetics. In this important new work, she undertakes an exploration of the nature of the sublime, one of the most important topics in contemporary debates about modernity, politics and art.

Through a compelling examination of terror, transcendence and the ‘other’ in key European philosophers and writers, Battersby articulates a radical ‘female sublime’. A central feature of The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference is its engagement with recent debates around ‘9/11’, race and Islam. Battersby shows how, since the eighteenth century, the pleasures of the sublime have been described in terms of the transcendence of terror. Linked to the ‘feminine’, the sublime was closed off to flesh-and-blood women, to ‘Orientals’ and to other supposedly ‘inferior’ human types. Engaging with Kant, Burke, the German Romantics, Nietzsche, Derrida, Lyotard, Irigaray and Arendt, as well as with women writers and artists, Battersby traces the history of these exclusions, while finding resources within the history of western culture for thinking human differences afresh

The Sublime, Terror and Human Difference is essential reading for students of continental philosophy, gender studies, aesthetics, literary theory, visual culture, and race and social theory.

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