Volume 27, Issue 3, 2017
Values and Ideals. Theory and Practice: Part IV
C. E. Emmer
Burkean Beauty in the Service of Violence
Examining the images of war displayed on front pages of the New York Times, David Shields makes the case that they ultimately glamorize military conflict. He anchors his case with an excerpt on the delight of the sublime from Edmund Burke’s aesthetic theory in A Philosophical Enquiry. By contrast, this essay considers violence and warfare using not the Burkean sublime, but instead the beautiful in Burke’s aesthetics, and argues that forming identities on the beautiful in the Burkean sense can ultimately shut down dialogue and feed the lust for violence and revenge.