Sublime Quotes

Quotes tagged as "sublime" Showing 1-30 of 100
Immanuel Kant
“Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

David Mitchell
“Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.”
David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Herman Melville
“The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous, heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God.”
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale

Jane Austen
“When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene.”
Jane Austen

Haruki Murakami
“A friend to kill time is a friend sublime.”
Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase

Terry Pratchett
“Last hopeless chances have got to work. Nothing makes sense otherwise. You might as well not be alive.”
Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

Arthur Schopenhauer
“What give all that is tragic, whatever its form, the characteristic of the sublime, is the first inkling of the knowledge that the world and life can give no satisfaction, and are not worth our investment in them. The tragic spirit consists in this. Accordingly it leads to resignation.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1

John Keats
“Think of my Pleasure in Solitude, in comparison of my commerce with the world - there I am a child - there they do not know me not even my most intimate acquaintance - I give into their feelings as though I were refraining from irritating a little child - Some think me middling, others silly, other foolish - every one thinks he sees my weak side against my will; when in thruth it is with my will - I am content to be thought all this because I have in my own breast so graet a resource. This is one great reason why they like me so; because they can all show to advantage in a room, and eclipese from a certain tact one who is reckoned to be a good Poet - I hope I am not here playing tricks 'to make the angels weep': I think not: for I have not the least contempt for my species; and though it may sound paradoxical: my greatest elevations of Soul leave me every time more humbled - Enough of this - though in your Love for me you will not think it enough.”
John Keats

Maurice Maeterlinck
“We all live in the sublime. Where else can we live? That is the only place of life.”
Maurice Maeterlinck, The Treasure of the Humble

Edmund Burke
“It is our ignorance of things that causes all our admiration and chiefly excites our passions.”
Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

Edmund Burke
“Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling .... When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and [yet] with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience.”
Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

Giambattista Vico
“The most sublime labour of poetry is to give sense and passion to insensate things; and it is characteristic of children to take inanimate things in their hands and talk to them in play as if they were living persons... This philological-philosophical axiom proves to us that in the world's childhood men were by nature sublime poets...”
Giambattista Vico, New Science

Alberto Caeiro
“And I find a happiness in the fact of accepting —
In the sublimely scientific and difficult fact of accepting the inevitable natural.”
Alberto Caeiro, The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro

Alain de Botton
“For thousands of years, it had been nature--and its supposed creator--that had had a monopoly on awe. It had been the icecaps, the deserts, the volcanoes and the glaciers that had given us a sense of finitude and limitation and had elicited a feeling in which fear and respect coagulated into a strangely pleasing feeling of humility, a feeling which the philosophers of the eighteenth century had famously termed the sublime.

But then had come a transformation to which we were still the heirs.... Over the course of the nineteenth century, the dominant catalyst for that feeling of the sublime had ceased to be nature. We were now deep in the era of the technological sublime, when awe could most powerfully be invoked not by forests or icebergs but by supercomputers, rockets and particle accelerators. We were now almost exclusively amazed by ourselves.”
Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

Hammurabi
“When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunnaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak, so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

...When Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I did right and righteousness in . . . , and brought about the well-being of the oppressed.

[The oldest known written code of laws from around 1772 BCE]”
Hammurabi, The Code of Hammurabi

Knut Hamsun
“A shaft of sweetness shoots through me from top to toe when the sun rises; I shoulder my gun in silent exaltation.”
Knut Hamsun, Pan

Amy Leigh Mercree
“Breathtaking, splendid, wondrous, sublime, all those words describe you, exactly as you are. You are a work of art! Enjoy your beauty!”
Amy Leigh Mercree

Herman Melville
“It is the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships' cables and hawsers. A Polar wind blows through it, and birds of prey hover over it.”
Herman Melville

Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly
“He was terrified by the sublime horror of it, for intensity of feeling, carried to this degree, is sublime. ("A Woman's Vengeance")”
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly, Les Diaboliques

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Compare King William with the philosopher Haeckel. The king is one of the anointed by the most high, as they claim—one upon whose head has been poured the divine petroleum of authority. Compare this king with Haeckel, who towers an intellectual colossus above the crowned mediocrity. Compare George Eliot with Queen Victoria. The Queen is clothed in garments given her by blind fortune and unreasoning chance, while George Eliot wears robes of glory woven in the loom of her own genius.

The world is beginning to pay homage to intellect, to genius, to heart.

We have advanced. We have reaped the benefit of every sublime and heroic self-sacrifice, of every divine and brave act; and we should endeavor to hand the torch to the next generation, having added a little to the intensity and glory of the flame.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child

Jean-François Lyotard
“In his analysis of the sublime effect, Edmund Burke termed 'horror' the state of mind of a person whose participation in speech is threatened. The power which exceeds the capacity of interlocution resembles night.”
Jean-François Lyotard

Winifred Gallagher
“Horse Frightened by a Lion depicts a majestic stallion in a very different situation. Stubbs painted this magnetic masterpiece to illustrate the nature of the sublime, which was one of his era's most popular philosophical concepts,and its relation to a timelessly riveting feeling: fear. The magnificent horse galloping through a vast wilderness encounters the bottom-up stimulus of a crouching predator and responds with a dramatic display of what psychologists mildly call "negative emotion." The equine superstar's arched neck, dilated eyes, and flared nostrils are in fact the very picture of overwhelming dread. The painting's subject matter reflects he philosopher Edmund Burke's widely circulated Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, which asserts that because "terror" is unparalleled in commanding "astonishment," or total, single-pointed,--indeed, rapt--attention, it is "the ruling principle of the sublime.”
Winifred Gallagher

Richard Bachman
“Sometimes when he was in the country he would sleep in a barn and wake in the night and go out and look at the stars and there were so many, and he knew they were there before him, and they would be there after him. That was sort of awful and sort of wonderful.”
Richard Bachman, Blaze

Thomm Quackenbush
“While it is easy to say why one doesn't like a work of art, the sublime lacks explicability. One can talk about influences, brushwork, styles, but the real beauty of it comes from a place outside description. This was, in part, why the performance grated on me. They were talking too much for me to focus on what I'm not able to articulate.”
Thomm Quackenbush, Holidays with Bigfoot

Carson McCullers
“And having given up on life, the Captain suddenly began to live. A great mad joy surged through him. This emotion, coming as unexpectedly as the plunge of the horse when he had broken away, was one that the Captain had never experienced. His eyes were glassy and half-open, as in delirium, but he saw suddenly as he had never seen before. The world was a kaleidoscope, and each of the multiple visions which he saw impressed itself on his mind with burning vividness.

On the ground half-buried in the leaves there was a little flower, dazzling white and beautifully wrought. A thorny pine cone, the flight of a bird in the blue windy sky, a fiery shaft of sunshine in the green gloom - these the Captain saw as though for the first time in his life. He was conscious of the pure keen air and the felt the marvel of his own tense body, his labouring heart, and the miracle of blood, muscle, nerves, and bones. The Captain knew no terror now; he soared the rare level of consciousness where the mystic feels that the earth is he and that he is the earth. Clinging crabwise to the runaway horse, there was a grin of rapture on his bloody mouth.”
Carson McCullers, Reflections in a Golden Eye

J.R.R. Tolkien
“Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Photo Guide

Alice Hoffman
“We were no different from the doves above us. We could not speak or cry, but when there was no choice, we discovered we could fly. If you want a reason, take this: We yearned for our portion of the sky" (p.397).”
Alice Hoffman

Franz Kafka
“Amália sorriu e, apesar de triste, o sorriso iluminou o rosto sombrio e fechado, fez falar o que silenciava, tornou familiar o que era estranho: era a entrega de um segredo, de uma posse até então bem guardada, que na verdade podia ser tomada outra vez de volta, mas nunca por completo.”
Franz Kafka, The Castle

“Sublime and tender...
like the opening of the petals of a flower.”
Avijeet Das

Mervyn Peake
“Through honeycombs of stone would now be wandering the passions in their clay. There would be tears and there would be strange laughter. Fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings. And dreams and violence and disenchantment.”
Mervyn Peake, The Gormenghast Novels

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