Cicero’s ears, or eloquence in the age of politeness: oratory, moderation, and the sublime in Enlightenment Scotland

Packham, Catherine (2013) Cicero’s ears, or eloquence in the age of politeness: oratory, moderation, and the sublime in Enlightenment Scotland. Eighteenth-Century Studies, 46 (4). pp. 499-512. ISSN 0013-2586

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Abstract

This paper argues that Hume’s essay, ‘Of Eloquence’, should be read as part of a Scottish Enlightenment attempt to accommodate the sublime to commercial modernity. Hume inherits the sublime of ancient oratory not as a matter for narrow stylistic regulation - to be rejected in a new age of politeness, as some have argued - but as a moral problem at the heart of modern subjectivity. Hume looks to taste to regulate and contain the sublime, but it is Adam Smith who solves the problem of the sublime by recouping its excess as a mark of the possibilities for virtue in the modern age.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR3291 17th and 18th centuries (1640-1770)
Depositing User: Catherine Packham
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2013 09:19
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 06:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/43145

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