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Title: The pursuit of the sublime in post Romantic France
Author: Jolly, Louise Yvonne.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3591 7722
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2001
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My thesis takes the notion of the sublime out of its usual Romantic context to look at what it can reveal about post-Romantic France. This is a period of rapid capitalist and urban development, often described as the age of the prosaic - an age of cliche, platitude and banality. It is also, however, a period in which Romantic aspirations survive: this is often accepted by critics in terms of literary projects, but less so in terms of broader social developments. I will use the notion of the sublime to trace the presence of these aspirations in post-Romantic discourses - across the supposed divide between literature and society. The first section of the thesis is a theoretical introduction to the notion of the sublime in Western philosophy, with a particular focus on its appropriation in France. It includes three chapters, the first of which looks at Longinus and Boileau, the second, Kant and Hegel, and the third, modem and postmodern theoretical perspectives. The aim of this section is both to frame the problems and questions that the sublime poses for French culture and literature, and present the critical concepts that I will bring to bear on readings of specific texts in the second part of the thesis. The second section contains chapters 4 to 7 of the thesis. In chapter 4, I look at how Flaubert parodies rhetorical over-inflation in Madame Bovary and strips it away in 'Un Coeur simple'. Chapter 5 focuses on the sublime in Zola's Au Bonheur des dames, a text that shows how capitalist discourse makes use of the imagery of the Romantic sublime. In chapter 6, I move on to the sublime in working-class discourses, especially revolutionary oratory and performance, before bringing the thesis to a close in chapter 7 with an examination of the metaphysical underpinnings of some of the major artistic developments in the period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: French culture