Visual Phenomenology: Encountering the Sublime Through Images, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Visual Phenomenology

Encountering the Sublime Through Images, 1st Edition

By Erika Goble


174 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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This volume—the second in Max Van Manen’s Phenomenology of Practice series—brings together personal narrative, human research methodology, and an extensive knowledge of aesthetic discourse to redefine the sublime in terms of direct and immediate experience. Erika Goble first traces the concept’s origin and development in Western philosophy, revealing how efforts to theorize aesthetic quality in axiomatic or objective frameworks fail to account for the variety of experiential paradoxes that can be evoked by a single image. She then examines several first-person descriptions of encounters with the sublime in order to reflect on a series of questions that have escaped aesthetic philosophy so far: What makes an experience uniquely sublime? What does this experience reveal about the human phenomenon of sublimity when it is evoked by an image? What does the experience of the sublime reveal about ourselves as being in the world with images? Goble’s book is a corrective to the rampant philosophizing in contemporary discussions of the sublime and an invaluable contribution to phenomenological research.


"This engaging and original book reveals whole new dimensions of the experiences of the sublime. It will captivate art critics, philosophers, and laymen alike." - Alphonso Lingis, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University

Table of Contents


1) An Introduction to the Sublimity of Images

2) The Flight of Icarus: The Sublime as Awe & Terror

3) The Tate’s Blue Butterflies: The Sublime as the Experience of the Exquisite & the Monstrous

4) The Raw Appeal of a Figure with Meat: The Sublime as the Experience of Horror & Delight

5) The Challenge of Doubting Thomas: The Sublime as the Experience of Clarity & Mystery

6) On a Starry Night like this, I would like to Die: The Sublime as Existence & Inexistence

7) Sublimity and the Image

8) Pedagogy and the Sublime Image

9) References

About the Author

Erika Gobleis Research Manager and Researcher at NorQuest College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

About the Series

Phenomenology of Practice

The series Phenomenology of Practice sponsors books that are steeped in phenomenological scholarship and relevant to professional practitioners in fields such as education, nursing, medicine, pedagogy, clinical and counseling psychology. Texts in this series distinguish themselves for offering inceptual and meaningful insights into lived experiences of professional practices, or into the quotidian concerns of everyday living. Texts may reflectively explicate and focus on aspects of method and dimensions of the philosophic and human science underpinnings of phenomenological research.

For further manuscript details available from the Series Editor: please contact Max van Manen at / +250-294 4345

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Research & Methodology