Cultural and Political Nostalgia in the Age of Terror: The Melancholic Sublime, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cultural and Political Nostalgia in the Age of Terror

The Melancholic Sublime, 1st Edition

By Matthew Leggatt


156 pages

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Paperback: 9780367884093
pub: 2020-03-31
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This book re-examines the role of the sublime across a range of disparate cultural texts, from architecture and art, to literature, digital technology, and film, detailing a worrying trend towards nostalgia and arguing that, although the sublime has the potential to be the most powerful uniting aesthetic force, it currently spreads fear, violence, and retrospection. In exploring contemporary culture, this book touches on the role of architecture to provoke feelings of sublimity, the role of art in the aftermath of destructive events, literature’s establishment of the historical moment as a point of sublime transformation and change, and the place of nostalgia and the returning of past practices in digital culture from gaming to popular cinema.

Table of Contents


Jump Number Ten

Introduction: Theorizing the Sublime

Part 1: Sublime Terror and Violence in the 21st Century

1: 9/11, Sublimity, Ruination, and the War over Architecture

The violence of Sublime Architecture

A Terrifying Nostalgia

2: the Stockhausen Syndrome & the Role of Art, Image, and Spectacle in an Age of Terror


Attention Deficit Disorder: Contemporary Terror Attacks and Spectacle

3: The Sublime Moment in Contemporary Literature and the Nostalgia for a Lost Innocence

Foregrounding the Moment of Terror in Literature

In Search of a Lost Innocence

Part 2: The Sublime in the Digital Age and Nostalgia for the Real

4: Digital Nostalgia and the Sublime Utopias of Cyber-Space



Retro Gaming: Nostalgia and the Celebration of the Pixel

5: Sublime Special Effects in Contemporary Cinema and Nostalgia for Physical

and Mechanical Special Effects

Remaking the Past

An Uncanny Nostalgia for the Real

"Staring into those Black Eyes": Jaws and Nostalgia for the Mechanical Sublime

Conclusion: "Show me the Way to go Home": Sublime Apathy and Nostalgia



About the Author

Matthew Leggatt is Lecturer in English and American Literature at the University of Winchester, UK

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ART / General
ART / Criticism & Theory