A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

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J. Dodsley, 1776 - 342 pages
 

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Page 102 - And I think there are reasons in nature, why the obscure idea, when properly conveyed, should be more affecting than the clear. It is our ignorance of things that causes all our admiration, and chiefly excites our passions.
Page 128 - Infinity has a tendency to fill the mind with that sort of delightful horror, which is the most genuine effect, and truest test of the sublime. There are scarce any things which can become the objects of our senses that are really, and in their own nature infinite. But the eye not being able to perceive the bounds of many things, they seem to be infinite, and they produce the same effects as if they were really so.
Page 113 - Will he make many supplications unto thee? Will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? Wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
Page 126 - I am apt to imagine likewise, that height is less grand than depth; and that we are more struck at looking down from a precipice, than looking up at an object of equal height; but of that I am not very positive.
Page 36 - ... when the whole man is awake in every part, and the gloss of novelty fresh upon all the objects that surround us, how lively at that time are our sensations, but how false and inaccurate the judgments we form of things ? I despair of ever receiving the same degree of pleasure from the most excellent performances of genius, which I felt at that age, from pieces which my present judgment regards as trifling and contemptible.
Page 16 - ... the mind of man possesses a sort of creative power of its own ; either in representing at pleasure the images of things in the order and manner in which they were received by the senses, or in combining those images in a new manner, and according to a different order. This power is called imagination ; and to this belongs whatever is called wit, fancy, invention, and the like.
Page 208 - ... beauty is, for the greater part, some quality in bodies acting mechanically upon the human mind by the intervention of the senses.
Page 65 - I call beauty a social quality ; for where women and men, and not only they, but when other animals give us a sense of joy and pleasure in beholding them (and there are many that do so), they inspire us with sentiments of tenderness and affection towards their persons ; we like to have them near us, and we enter willingly into a kind of relation with them, unless we should have strong reasons to the contrary.
Page 73 - But the case is widely different with the greater part of mankind; there is no spectacle we so eagerly pursue as that of some uncommon and grievous calamity; so that whether the misfortune is before our eyes, or whether they are turned back to it in history, it always touches with delight. This is not an unmixed delight, but blended with no small uneasiness.
Page 79 - When the object represented in poetry or painting is such as we could have no desire of seeing in the reality, then I may be sure that its power in poetry or painting is owing to the power of imitation, and to no cause operating in the thing itself.

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