The National Security Sublime: On the Aesthetics of Government Secrecy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The National Security Sublime

On the Aesthetics of Government Secrecy, 1st Edition

By Matthew Potolsky


240 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367208912
pub: 2019-04-09
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Why do recent depictions of government secrecy and surveillance so often use images suggesting massive size and scale: gigantic warehouses, remote black sites, numberless security cameras? Drawing on post-War American art, film, television, and fiction, Matthew Potolsky argues that the aesthetic of the sublime provides a privileged window into the nature of modern intelligence, a way of describing the curiously open secret of covert operations. The book tracks the development of the national security sublime from the Cold War to the War on Terror, and places it in a long history of efforts by artists and writers to represent political secrecy.

Table of Contents

1. Defining the National Security Sublime

2. Toward an Aesthetics of Government Secrecy

3. The Genesis and Structure of the National Security Sublime

4. The Sublime Under the War on Terror

5. The Secret Without a Subject

About the Author

Matthew Potolsky is Professor of English at the University of Utah.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Social History