CFP: CFP for Sublime Issue of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics

Submission deadline: August 31, 2020

Topic areas


Special Issue (Call for Papers) 

Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics  

Asking and Answering the Sublime Question: Visions, Views, Vitalities

One of the reasons why the Sublime has remained submerged while other branches of aesthetics have flourished throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century could be its theoretical ‘ungraspability’. It remains ungraspable because it has been historically understood to be antagonistic to something more theoretically stable and reflectively concrete as the beautiful, not to mention the trajectory that the Sublime has had to chart from being a concierge of divine metaphysics to being an ‘inside-out’ metaphysical abnormality. To cite an example, when Longinus says: “Sublimity raises us towards the spiritual greatness of God”, one is bound to enquire the concreteness of ideas like “spiritual”, “greatness”, “God”, the relationship between this triad and “raising”, and if this “us” implies that the atheistically-driven human cannot experience the Sublime, or if Sublimity extirpates everything that does not believe in God as in-human, or as “not” us. On the contrary, Barnett Newman’s Vir Heroicus Sublimis (Man, Heroic and Sublime), apart from being massive in size and devastating in effect, promotes an intelligent paradox, if I may tweak Lyotard’s critique of his painting: the ‘Present-ness’ of sublime metaphysics. This disturbingly huge theoretical playground contends something acute: Is there a way of explaining away the elusiveness of the sublime? This is not a question that this volume seeks to answer; instead, it seeks to elaborate the possibilities of a theoretically sound question that can be posed to better understand sublime elusiveness rather than explaining it away. To put it in another way, the need for promoting a framework that explains obscurity without explaining it away – the necessity of paradoxical ontologies as opposed to paradoxes answered is the first and only objective of this volume on the Sublime. 

Essays of a descriptive-analytical creed are invited on areas of research pertaining to features of the Sublime, with special emphasis on these in particular: 

• The Classical and the Romantic sublime – an interdisciplinary approach

• Music, Painting, Architecture and Photography – theorizing sublimities

• Sublimating the Picturesque paradox

• Harold Bloom’s ‘The American Sublime’ and ‘The Sceptical Sublime’ – Reading De-constructively.

• 19th century Continental philosophy and literature – Phases and Discourses on the sublime

• The Psychoanalytic Sublime – subliminal, subliminalities and ideology.

• The psychology of the Unconscious and the Apocalyptic with regards to the Sublime

• Scientific, Moral and Absurd sublimities in marginalized literatures of the world

• Indic Scriptures, Philosophies, Epics and the theorizations of an ‘Indian Sublime’ in the 21st century.

Essays aiming to promote or preach political perspectives are strongly discouraged, as it goes against the publication ethics of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (JCLA) that the Founding Editor, Prof. Ananta Charan Sukla had maintained since the inception of the journal in 1977. All unsolicited essays must be properly typed out in MS Word (Times New Roman, 12 Font), not exceeding 5,000 words and not below 3,600, complete with an abstract of 100 words alongside 4 or 5 keywords, incorporated within the essay itself. Essays abounding in solecisms, catachresis or those insufficiently argued shall be returned unread. ‘Works Cited’ must preferably follow the MLA 7th or 8th convention without exception. Footnotes are welcome, although Endnotes are easier to process, hence recommended. Each essay submitted must carry a declaration that it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. The least suspicion of plagiarism will result in an outright rejection of the article.

The cover letter should include a brief author’s bio with no revelation of the author’s identity in the paper itself. An acknowledgment shall be sent upon receipt. Further communication shall be made only after the editor considers the paper worthy of publication. Revisions must be returned in two weeks without further delay. The author is implored to wait at least two months before withdrawing his article, in case no communication has been made. Simultaneous submissions are not allowed.

All essays for the issue must reach the editor by September 2020, failing which it cannot be entertained. Please mail one copy of your essay, complete with declaration and author’s bio to and All queries can be mailed directly to either of these e-mails. Innovations, neologisms and things of that sort in the essay shall be received with moderate if not complete encouragement. M.Phil. and PhD scholars researching the area are encouraged to participate in the makings of the volume from within the unsolicited community.

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