By Anita Shreve

ISBN-10: 0316138118

ISBN-13: 9780316138116

At an lodge within the Berkshire Mountains, seven former schoolmates assemble to rejoice a wedding--a reunion that turns into the party of striking revelations because the associates jointly bear in mind a long-ago evening that indelibly marked each one in their lives. Written with the fluent narrative artistry that distinguishes all of Anita Shreve's bestselling novels, a marriage in December acutely probes the mysteries of the human center and the unending attract of paths no longer taken.

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Example text

On claims for the ‘counterhegemonic’ capacities of the category of experience, see Ireland (2004) xiv. Martindale (2005) 24. Martindale (2005) 136. Cf. ibid. 26: ‘[Today’s] politicising critics try, in Manichean vein, to force us to make a choice between politics and aesthetics . . ’ Barthes (1990) 32, cited by Martindale (2005) 122 n. 49. 81 Martindale (2005) 5. Ankersmit (2005) 13. Martindale (2005) 2; cf. Scarry (1999) 30, 48, cited by Martindale (2005) 30: ‘What is beautiful prompts the mind to move chronologically back in the search for precedents and parallels, to move forward into new acts of creation, to move conceptually over, to bring things into relation .

Conversely, not all theorists of the sublime have argued for its moral implications; its eighteenth-century proponents kept the two firmly separate, and Kirwan takes Kant to task precisely for appropriating the sublime in the name of ethics. I am not sympathetic to Kirwan’s view, but my point here is simply a theoretical one, that both the sublime and the beautiful can be, and have been, variously associated with and distinguished from the ethical; contrary to Martindale’s suggestion, there is no inherent difference between the two categories on this score.

However, these studies largely avoid theoretical discussion of the sublime or extended reference to the concept’s complex history; what the sublime actually is and how it works – its sources, logic and effects – are questions rarely examined in detail (Porter’s work is a notable exception). Moreover, there is currently no full-scale analysis of the Bellum civile as a text of the sublime, despite the complex 40 41 42 43 45 47 49 51 52 54 Crowther (2004) i. Cf. Sedley (2005) 1–7. Guerlac (1990) 12.

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