Inside this issue
The Sublime Landscape
The awesome power, and beauty, of nature
When writing about the Sublime it’s first necessary to establish what we mean by it. In contemporary speech, sublime is often a slightly elevated version of delightful, or delicious, as in, “You look sublime in that dress/suit,” or, even more annoyingly, “The profiteroles are just sublime, darling!” This is an undignified home for a word which in its artistic origins was used to distill the awe-inspiring, life-threatening, edge-of-catastrophe thrill of nature’s power and beauty.
The philosopher Edmund Burke who defined the idea of the sublime understood the importance of people being made to feel small and insignificant as a way of putting daily life in perspective, and to counter the inflation of the ego. Religion is one of the ways that this could be achieved, and art was another. But nature was/is Sublime’s source.
(For those seeking something more scholarly, there is endless interesting material on the Sublime in libraries and on the internet, as always.)
To have a close encounter with a hurricane/tornado/erupting volcano/avalanche/earthquake/thunderstorm and survive, was to have a sublime experience.