Recommend to your Librarian

Request a Review Copy

Sublime Art

Towards an Aesthetics of the Future

Stephen Zepke

Paperback (Pre-order)
Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Tracks the sublime art movement from Kant to the 21st century and onwards to a new future

Stephen Zepke tracks the sublime art movement from its beginnings in Kant to its flowering in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He shows that the idea of sublime art waxes and wanes in the work of Jean-François Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Rancière and the recent Speculative Realism movement. With it, a visionary politics of art seeks to give it the most creative power possible: the power to overcome our conditions and embrace the unknown.

Show more


Introduction. Exiled from oneself: Art and Other Strange Migrations…
1. 'Contempt for the world': Kant's Aesthetics and the Sublime
2. 'A stranger to consciousness…': Lyotard and the Sublime
3. 'My whole structure of perception is in the process of exploding': Deleuze and Guattari and the Sublime
4. Framing the Abyss: the Deconstruction of the Sublime
5. For those who disagree: Rancière and the Sublime
Postscript: 'Art after experience': Speculative Realism and the Sublime

About the Author

Stephen Zepke is an independent researcher living in Vienna. He has published numerous essays on philosophy, art and cinema. He is the author of Art as Abstract Machine, Ontology and Aesthetics in Deleuze and Guattari (Routledge, 2005), and co-editor with Simon O'Sullivan of Deleuze and Contemporary Art (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) and Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New (Bloomsbury Academic, 2008).


Stephen Zepke is already known as a considerable philosopher of the new. In these pages he expertly navigates the inconsistent legacies of Kantian aesthetics with the goal of regaining the political and philosophical potentialities of sublime art and its role in difficult eruptions of the new. Zepke’s analyses range across a continuum of discomfort attributed to the sublime through exquisitely crafted chapters that counterpoise Lyotard, Deleuze, Derrida, and Rancière. This book may have absorbed its subject so well that its readers will be left in tatters.

- Gary Genosko, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

A remarkable book that explores the reception of Kant’s theory of the sublime in Lyotard, Deleuze and Guattari, Rancière and Derrida, as well as in more recent philosophical movements such as Speculative Realism and Accelerationism. But Zepke is an equally astute observer of the art world, and he simultaneously examines the role that this "sublime aesthetics" has (or has not) played in contemporary artistic production and political struggles. Sublime Art is not only the definitive analysis of the reception of the Kantian sublime, but a visionary manifesto for the aesthetics of the future.​

- Daniel W. Smith, Purdue University

Sign up to the Edinburgh University Press mailing list

Also in this series

You might also like ...