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Often labelled as 'indescribable', the sublime is a term that has been debated for centuries amongst writers, artists, philosophers and theorists. Usually related to ideas of the great, the awe-inspiring and the overpowering, the sublime has become a complex yet crucial concept in many disciplines. Offering historical overviews and explanations, Philip Shaw looks at: the legacy of the earliest, classical theories of the sublime through the romantic to the postmodern and avant-garde sublimity the major theorists of the sublime such as Kant, Burke, Lyotard, Derrida, Lacan and Zizek, offering critical introductions to each the significance of the concept through a range of literary readings including the Old and New testaments, Homer, Milton and writing from the romantic era how the concept of the sublime has affected other art forms such as painting and film, from abstract expressionism to David Lynch's neo-noir. This remarkably clear study of what is, in essence, a term which evades definition, is essential reading for students of literature, critical and cultural theory.