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A Thank-You to Jared

I’d heard of but never really had any drive to read Edmund Burke before your post on him, and now I’m closing in on the end of his treatise on aesthetics. I’m not going to give a full summary of it, but I did want to point up one of the more interesting bits so far.

Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful‘s first book offers an Aristotelian account of artistic and literary “taste,” making it a subset of intellectual virtue and thus neither inherent in the human mind nor entirely a function of consumer choice. (I know that “consumer choice” is an anachronism, but I think the concepts are close enough.) As an English teacher, Burke’s treatise articulates concisely what my literature courses try to be about, namely developing the capacities of mind to behold an artifact and to make intelligent judgments of it. In the face of most freshmen’s rather weakly articulated “it’s all good” opinions of art, I’ve now discovered that I’ve been trying to make Burkeans of them all these years.
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I’ll likely start book two, his discussion of the Sublime, later on this week (no doubt on the city bus), but I figured I’d go ahead and offer some kudos to Jared and encourage everyone to check out Burke’s clear prose, clever language, and good ideas.

Jared and Edmund might just make a real conservative of me yet.

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About Nathan Gilmour

Nathan P. Gilmour is a Christian, a husband, a father, and a college English teacher. He tries to do all of that and write something worthwhile on occasion.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “A Thank-You to Jared

  1. >The extent of my Burke is pretty much his writings on the sublime, but it’s good slooge (as Jay would say).Yet, I’m becoming tempted to venture out into some of his other slooge.

    Posted by GUNNY | August 18, 2008, 5:20 pm
  2. >Cool. Glad to know you found Burke useful. I remember reading “On the Sublime and the Beautiful” 4 or 5 years ago. I probably need to revisit it. I remember being impressed to explore the idea of beautiful rather than just say the word on feeling. Makes you really think about what “taste” is, how much is subjective and how much objective. They say the book influenced Kant’s view on the subject…

    Posted by Jared Nelson | August 17, 2008, 7:34 pm
  3. >No problem; I’m going mad getting ready to preach this morning and start teaching again on Tuesday morning, so I hadn’t even checked back in since posting.I was just afraid that I’d orphaned a post and left a conversation unattended to.

    Posted by Nathan P. Gilmour | August 17, 2008, 10:48 am
  4. >Nathan, Jared is on vacation right now. I’m sure that’s why he hasn’t responded to the discussion in the comments of his post on the Lambeth conference or to your thank you. I’m sure he’ll jump back in soon.

    Posted by M. Jay Bennett | August 16, 2008, 11:38 pm

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