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On Bathos

Literature, Art, Music

On Bathos
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While the sublime has garnered a great deal of critical attention over the past twenty years, its counterpart, bathos, has yet to receive any extended treatment. Generally understood as an inadvertent descent to the low, vulgar, and ludicrous in writing or art, the term “bathos” was popularised by Pope, who used it to satirise his contemporaries. Ironically likening bathos to the depths of profundity, Pope lauded his peers for their influential writings whilst openly deriding their absurd misuses of figure and rhetorical device. Pope’s method proved prophetic: today, artists regularly celebrate and incorporate bathetic practice.

This essay collection considers how bathos has become so central to literature, fine art, and music. The innovative and diverse contributions assess the consequences of this endemic inversion of aesthetic standards, and consider where artistic production might go after hitting, and so comfortably inhabiting, rock bottom.

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ISBNs
1441160825
9781441105073
9781441160829