EVENT Aug 01
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Asking and Answering the Sublime Question: Visions, Views, Vitalities

Organization: Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics
Categories: Postcolonial, American, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, British, Popular Culture, Literary Theory, World Literatures, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature
Event Date: 2020-08-01 to 2020-08-08 Abstract Due: 2020-07-15

SPECIAL ISSUE - Asking and Answering the Sublime Question: Visions, Views, Vitalities


One of the reasons why the Sublime has remained submerged while other branches of aesthetics have flourished throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century could be its theoretical ‘ungraspability’, if we are permitted to use the word. It remains ungraspable because it has been historically understood to be antagonistic to something more theoretically stable and reflectively concrete as the beautiful, not to mention the trajectory that the Sublime has had to chart from being a concierge of divine metaphysics to being an ‘inside-out’ metaphysical abnormality. To cite an example, when Longinus says: “Sublimity raises us towards the spiritual greatness of God”, one is bound to enquire the concreteness of ideas like “spiritual”, “greatness”, “God”, the relationship between this triad and “raising”, and if this “us” implies that the atheistically-driven human cannot experience the Sublime, or if Sublimity extirpates everything that does not believe in God as in-human, or as “not” us. On the contrary, Barnett Newman’s Vir Heroicus Sublimis (Man, Heroic and Sublime), apart from being massive in size and devastating in effect, promotes an intelligent paradox, if I may tweak Lyotard’s critique of his painting: the ‘Present-ness’ of sublime metaphysics. This disturbingly huge theoretical playground contends something acute: Is there a way of explaining away the elusiveness of the sublime? This is not a question that this volume seeks to answer; instead, it seeks to elaborate the possibilities of a theoretically sound question that can be posed to better understand sublime elusiveness rather than explaining it away. To put it in another way, the need for promoting a framework that explains obscurity without explaining it away – the necessity of paradoxical ontologies as opposed to paradoxes answered is the first and only objective of this volume on the Sublime. 

Essays of a descriptive-analytical creed are invited on areas of research pertaining to features of the Sublime, with special emphasis on these in particular: 

• The Classical and the Romantic sublime – an interdisciplinary approach
• Music, Painting, Architecture and Photography – theorizing sublimities
• Sublimating the Picturesque paradox
• Harold Bloom’s ‘The American Sublime’ and ‘The Sceptical Sublime’ – Reading De-constructively.
• 19th century Continental philosophy and literature – Phases and Discourses on the sublime
• The Psychoanalytic Sublime – subliminal, subliminalities and ideology.
• The psychology of the Unconscious and the Apocalyptic with regards to the Sublime
• Scientific, Moral and Absurd sublimities in marginalized literatures of the world
• Indic Scriptures, Philosophies, Epics and the theorizations of an ‘Indian Sublime’ in the 21st century. 

Essays aiming to promote or preach political perspectives are strongly discouraged, as it goes against the publication ethics of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (JCLA) that the Founding Editor, Prof. Ananta Charan Sukla had maintained since the inception of the journal in 1977. All unsolicited essays must be properly typed out in MS Word (Times New Roman, 12 Font), not exceeding 5,000 words and not below 3,600, complete with an abstract of 100 words alongside 4 or 5 keywords, incorporated within the essay itself. Essays abounding in solecisms, catachresis or those insufficiently argued shall be returned unread. ‘Works Cited’ must preferably follow the MLA 7th or 8th convention without exception. Footnotes are welcome, although Endnotes are easier to process, hence recommended. Each essay submitted must carry a declaration that it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. The least suspicion of plagiarism will result in an outright rejection of the article.

The cover letter should include a brief author’s bio with no revelation of the author’s identity in the paper itself. An acknowledgment shall be sent upon receipt. Further communication shall be made only after the editor considers the paper worthy of publication. Revisions must be returned in two weeks without further delay. The author is implored to wait at least two months before withdrawing his article, in case no communication has been made. Simultaneous submissions are not allowed. 

All essays for the issue must reach the editor by September 2020, failing which it cannot be entertained. Please mail one copy of your essay, complete with declaration and author’s bio to anantasukla@hotmail.com andshouviknarayan1994@gmail. com. All queries can be mailed directly to either of these e-mails. Innovations, neologisms and things of that sort in the essay shall be received with moderate if not complete encouragement. M.Phil. and PhD scholars researching the area are encouraged to participate in the makings of the volume from within the unsolicited community.


Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (ISSN: 0252-8169) is a half-yearly journal published by the Vishvanatha Kaviraja Institute, India since 1978. The Institute was founded on August 22, 1977 coinciding with the birth centenary of the legendary philosopher, aesthetician, and historian of Indian art, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947).

Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics is the oldest journal of India in the field of literature, philosophy, and related disciplines. It is still being published, sans any institutional or corporate publishing support. Moreover, it is the only Indian journal in humanities which has drawn the attention of and has also published the most revered scholars of the West, past and present, ever since its inception 43 years ago.  

The Journal is committed to interdisciplinary and cross-cultural issues in literary understanding and interpretation, aesthetic theories, conceptual analysis of art, literature, philosophy, religion, mythology, history of ideas, literary theory, history, and criticism.

The Journal has already published eminent scholars like Rene Wellek, Harold Osborne, John Hospers, John Fisher, Murray Krieger, Martin Bocco, Remo Ceserani, J.B. Vickery, Menachem Brinker, Milton Snoeyenbos, Mary Wiseman, Ronald Roblin, T.R. Martland, S.C. Sengupta, K.R.S. Iyengar, V.K. Chari, Charles Altieri, Peter Lamarque, Martin Jay, Jonathan Culler, Richard Shusterman, Robert Kraut, T.J. Diffey, T.R. Quigley, R.B. Palmer, Keith Keating, and many renowned scholars.

JCLA is indexed and abstracted in the MLA International Bibliography, Master List of Periodicals (USA), Ulrich's Directory of Periodicals, ERIH PLUS, EBSCO, ProQuest, and Gale.

Celebrated scholars of the time like Rene Wellek, Harold Osborne, Mircea Eliade, Monroe Beardsley, John Hospers, John Fisher, Meyer Abrams, John Boulton and many renowned foreign and Indian scholars were Members of its Editorial Board.






Viraj Shukla