A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why, according to Burke, is the idea of God sublime?

2. What is this creative power of the mind incapable of producing?

3. In which instance are feelings productive of the sublime?

4. What problem does Burke see with the contemporary notion of "taste?"

5. What does Burke say is the primary passion ignited by the sublime?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the types of dimensional greatness Burke notes are part of the sublime.

2. According to Burke, why can grief be considered pleasurable?

3. What, according to Burke, is sublime about religion?

4. What kind of infinity exists in "pleasing objects," according to Burke, and what is an example he uses to support his claim?

5. What motivated Burke to write "A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful"?

6. What is "magnificence," according to Burke?

7. Briefly describe the significance of human judgment to the faculty of taste.

8. What is the significance of the imagination, to Burke?

9. What is the difference between taste and knowledge, according to Burke?

10. What qualities of sound produce the sublime, according to Burke?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Carefully analyze Part III, sections VI, IX, and XV, looking for passages which you think are particularly important in demonstrating ways in which Burke characterizes women. Pay close attention to Burke's word choice, imagery, use of metaphor or other figurative speech, and his general tone. How does he use women to demonstrate that perfection is not the cause of beauty? How does Burke use women as examples to demonstrate some of the aspects of beauty? What gender distinctions does Burke make between men and women, and do these distinctions seem to move beyond merely the realm of the beautiful? What parts of the female body, and what characteristics of femininity, does Burke focus on? What portions of the body or characteristics of femininity does Burke neglect?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the physical effects of fear and pain, as observed by Burke. How do people in pain look or sound, and what is their state of mind? What passions could they be experiencing? What is the difference Burke identifies between fear and pain, as related to the body and the mind? How can pain be a cause of delight, in everyday life and in effecting the sublime? What examples does Burke use to prove this point?

Essay Topic 3

In the Introduction on Taste, Burke qualifies his purpose of defining the origins of the sublime and the beautiful. What, according to Burke, is the main problem with creating prescribed definitions, especially taste? What do definitions essentially do, and in what ways can they limit rather than enlighten? Considering Burke's mission regarding and methods used in the "A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful," do you find anything ambiguous or undermining about Burke's reservations on definitions? Do you find inconsistencies here that make you think differently about reading "A Philosophical Enquiry Into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful"?

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