A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.

BURKE Edmund (1782.)


Ninth edition. 8vo. ix, [7, contents], 342 pp. Nineteenth century half calf with marbled paper covered boards, spine with four raised bands outlined with Grecian rolls, second panel lettered in gilt to brown morocco label. London, Dodsley.

An early edition of Burke’s treatise on the Sublime. “First published in 1757, Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful exerted a strong influence on the Romantic and Gothic movements. In the work, he discusses the attraction of the grotesque, the terrible and the uncontrollable, a stark contrast to the prevailing 18th-century preferences for the controlled and balanced.  Burke proposes that beauty stimulates love, but that the sublime excites horror. While beauty relaxes, the sublime brings tension. The feeling that something is sublime is triggered by extremes – vastness, extreme height, difficulty, darkness or excessive light.  When discussing infinity, Burke uses the phrase ‘delightful horror’ to describe the ‘truest test of the sublime’. Delight for Burke is the removal of pain. When we realise that horror portrayed in the arts is fictional, this allows us to experience pleasure. This work provided a rationale for why grotesque or extravagant architecture, Gothic novels and vast wilderness were so attractive.” (The BL). 

A very good copy, with rubbing to extremities especially along the edge of the front cover. 

Stock Code: 240954

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