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Enigmas of the Sublime and the Grotesque

  • Antoine Dechêne
Chapter
Part of the Crime Files book series (CF)

Abstract

This chapter introduces three important concepts liable to help one deal with texts which certainly reject classification and interpretation: the sublime, the grotesque, and, to a lesser extent, the abject. Based on theories by Burke, Lyotard, and Kant among others, the concept of the sublime is used in this book to describe the cognitive failure of the detectives facing the ungraspable nature of human experience. The related concept of the grotesque, apprehended through Bakhtin and Kayser, is studied as a literary mode which emphasizes and further distorts the anxiety and horror that the lack of solutions generates in metacognitive mystery tales. Lastly, the abject, understood in Kristevian terms, appears as the most extreme form of existential and intellectual privation experienced by the detectives.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Dechêne
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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