‘the Sublime Escapes the Limits of Representation’ (Nicola Trott). Discuss the Role of the Sublime in Romantic and/or Gothic Writing.

‘The sublime escapes the limits of representation’ (Nicola Trott). Discuss the role of the sublime in Romantic and/or Gothic writing.

The aim of this assignment is to research and discuss what the sublime is and how it can be applied to Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Edmund Burke believes that ‘whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of sublime’. It could be argued that he believes anything that causes someone extreme pain or terror that cannot be described, or that cannot be put into words as it is beyond their imagination is the sublime.   Immanuel Kant however believes that ‘the sublime is not an attribute of the object but an attribute of the mind’s response to it’.   He could be suggesting that it is not the object that causes the horror but how the individual’s mind responds to it.   It could be argued that each person is different and will be affected by things differently.   Freud states that ‘people differ greatly in their sensitivity’.   For example what one person finds horrific, another may not.
According to Dr. Amy Culley, ‘for Burke, the beautiful is associated with feelings of pleasure and social relationships, that it is characterised by smallness, smoothness and delicacy and inspires love and also that in ‘contrast to this, the sublime association with feelings of terror or pain by the solitary individual, it is characterized by huge size and infinite space’.   It could be suggested here that anything small or beautiful would not be considered sublime as it could be believed that it would not be possible to have something so beautiful or magnificent that it could not be put into words, however this may not always be the case when speaking about nature.   Burke states that ‘Magnificence is likewise a source of the...