To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Slow wonder bears witness to the possibilities of the imagination. In a series of letters the authors playfully imagine alternatives to current orthodoxies that privilege technocratic approaches to education that have strangled discussion about what it might mean to make education good and right, or even beautiful. The authors position the imagination as a powerful site of resistance within education and academic life. They unpack their philosophical positionings through vignettes of their teaching practice, poetry written as reflective musings and discursive theoretical pieces, including letters they have written to others. They attempt to marry the poetic and the academic, the rational and the affective, to model a slow approach to wondering about the joy, beauty and possibilities of life. In this spirit, they contemplate new ways to think and live in education.
The concepts of the sublime and wonder have a long and significant history in philosophy, literature and the arts, religion, and the history of science. These concepts identify kinds of human attitudes and responses to the natural world and to cultural practices and artifacts. This chapter will focus on the contemporary relevance of the sublime and wonder to questions and issues within the context of nature, environment, aesthetics, and religion. I begin with a brief, recent history of sublimity before examining the contemporary sublime in relation to environmental thought and “other-regarding attitudes” toward nature. I then consider recent cross-disciplinary discussions of the varieties of wonder and show how this attitude invites receptivity in relation to the more-than-human world. In the concluding section, I offer a comparison of the sublime and wonder to show, further, the different ways in which they may support sympathetic, ethical attitudes toward nature.
Chapter 8 treats books XIX–XXII, the final segment of The City of God, focusing on the last end or summum bonum. In these key books, the antidote to pride, flowing from humility, emerges in Augustine’s narrative as “participation” – free and willing partaking by creatures in God’s being, wisdom, and love. Crucial to this participation, and the genuine community or res publica it makes possible, are recognition of humanity’s creaturely status and the rejection of the pull toward autarchy or a false sense of self-sufficiency.
This chapter considers the “globalization” of magical realism in the 1980s and its relationship to the consolidation of postcolonial literary studies in the same moment. Even as Latin America was being progressively marginalized in favor of taxonomic accounts of magical realism as a signature postcolonial style, Salman Rushdie and other South Asian authors became “pilgrims.” They use textual journeys to Latin America to declare the centrality of that tradition to their own forays into literary magic. Through references to Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, and others, Rushdie and Zulfikar Ghose pose Latin America as a funhouse mirror that reflects back a hyperbolically distorted but ultimately referential image of postcolonial political life. Ghose is joined by Anita Desai in his approach to Latin America as a concave mirror, one that allows inverting the implied political meaning of institutional affiliation in “America” by redirecting their attachment southward. Finally, Sunny Singh interrogates the postcolonial critical desire for magical realism to act as a transparent window onto traditions of home, framing it instead as a looking glass – both opposite and identical.
Roslyn Jolly’s chapter discusses the particular burden carried by the prose of the travel writer. Travel writing faces such potentially opposing tasks as to render a foreign scene strange and exotic while bestowing it with an air of authenticity and verisimilitude, and in doing so makes it appeal to the senses and exercises telling control or choice of narrative perspective. These various pressures and strategies appear fairly consistently throughout the long history of travel writing, which takes in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Henry James, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Orwell and Jonathan Raban. They also cross into prose fiction, where it is influenced by the travel memoir or tourist guide.
This introductory chapter examines the scope and range of wonder and the marvellous between Homer and the Hellenistic period, explores the significance of ancient conceptions of wonder in the modern literary critical tradition and outlines this book’s theoretical underpinnings and the scope and content of the subsequent chapters.
This chapter examines the significance of wonder in ancient conceptions of music, choral song and dance. The essential role of wonder in ancient religious thought as an effect which often accompanies epiphanic encounters between gods and humans and which naturally arises within the ritual space created by song performance is explored. The Homeric Hymn to Hermes is examined as a case study in which the rich relationship between music, semata (signs) and thauma in the Greek imagination is particularly evident. This chapter also discusses the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the Odyssey and the story of Arion in Herodotus’ Histories.
Wonder and wonders constituted a central theme in ancient Greek culture. In this book, Jessica Lightfoot provides the first full-length examination of its significance from Homer to the Hellenistic period. She demonstrates that wonder was an important term of aesthetic response and occupied a central position in concepts of what philosophy and literature are and do. She also argues that it became a means of expressing the manner in which the realms of the human and the divine interrelate with one another; and that it was central to the articulation of the ways in which the relationships between self and other, near and far, and familiar and unfamiliar were conceived. The book provides a much-needed starting point for re-assessments of the impact of wonder as a literary critical and cultural concept both in antiquity and in later periods. This title is available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
The defining verbal representation of Justinian’s bronze horseman was created by Prokopios. His Buildings (I.ii, I.x.5) is a multivalent text, which deserves both a greater consideration and a historiographic rehabilitation. While on the surface Buildings appears to flatter the emperor, I argue that the deeper narrative reveals strong elements of figured speech and safe criticism. Buildings is ekphrastic in certain aspects of form, but not in overall substance. Formal conformity with the genre constitutes a veil for criticism. Focusing on a close analysis of his representation of Justinian’s equestrian monument, I argue that Prokopios indicts Justinian on the charges of gigantomania and obliteration of the past. The bronze horseman features twice in Buildings – within the otherwise coherent cluster of Justinian’s church-building, and as the headlining sculpture in the section dedicated to Constantinople’s non-ecclesiastical monuments. This exceptional return to the bronze horseman is thus both notable and deliberate. The equestrian monument is the only sculptural monument of Buildings that merited a substantive description beyond a list-like entry.
Chapter 5: This chapter situates the American artist Deke Weaver’s long-term project The Unreliable Bestiary within the ecological politics of the Anthropocene. Weaver aims to create a performance for every letter of the English alphabet, with each letter representing an endangered species or threatened habitat. The performances he has made to date – Monkey (2009), Elephant (2010), Wolf (2013), Bear (2016–17), and Tiger (2019) – address the looming threat of the sixth great extinction by pairing the most fantastic flights of the animalized imagination with the most astonishing facts discovered by animal science. Reactivating and reconfiguring the medieval bestiary in this way allows Weaver to braid together an epistemology derived from the ‘squishy science’ of performance with an affect he calls ‘plain old wonder’, producing a new theatrical grammar for being in and with extinction and a new ethical framework for encountering our remaining animal others.
Nussbaum’s capabilities approach harks back to ancient Greek phūsis at the origin of the philosophical tradition, but it is a form of environmental humanism developing Enlightenment values. This complexity is not without its tensions. Using the contradictions I find contained in Nussbaum’s commitment to wonder as a universally important ethical experience, I push her extension of moral regard for other species farther than it can currently go. Nussbaum has transformed the Enlightenment concept of dignity to include other forms of life. Her considered position is a form of biocentric individualism. Biocentric individualism is the view that individual lives as such have dignity. However, I will show that her outlook, grounded in wonder, presents insurmountable obstacles to her biocentric individualism. I resolve these by suggesting that moral individualism ought to be jettisoned when species are not morally individualized in their form of life. I motivate this argument through the risk of a mass extinction cascade, which characterizes our planetary ecological situation and poses a threat both to human development and the moral and ethical commitments of the capabilities approach. I propose one general criterion for reasonable institutions regarding this risk, surrounding it with a call for environmental humanism in political culture.
Wonder is a key emotion to Shakespeare’s work as a whole, from first to last. Three principal sites of the evocation of wonder are discussed: in narrative, in character, and in language. Discussion of the first focuses on Shakespeare’s career-long interest in romance narratives of marvel, drawing on both ancient and popular traditions. These traditions inform Shakespeare’s writing from The Comedy of Errors through the last plays. In them marvellous events – especially involving recoveries and reunions – reveal a world unexpected in its amplitude, larger than human knowledge can easily understand. Audiences are encouraged to share this perception of the world-opening possibilities of poetry. Wonder experienced by characters provides an opportunity for audiences to examine closely the mechanics of the affect, and the attempts of persons to negotiate and emerge from it into knowledge. Wonder in language touches on Shakespeare’s characteristic extremity of rhetorical style, particularly his use of figures such as paradox, hyperbole, and catachresis. Altogether, this commitment to wonder reveals Shakespeare as a poet of an unclosed universe – one ever rich in possibility and the unexpected.
This essay is an outline of some of the key terms in the classical Sanskrit tradition that can be translated as “imagination.” This enables us to map a very different yet recognizable terrain for our understanding of the concept. The essay is in four parts. The first looks at the articulation of ideas recognizably centred on imagination in the performative aspects of early or Vedic texts (1500–300 BCE). The second presents various terms that approach different aspects of “imagination,” and looks at some of the genres within which these terms were thematized. The third section surveys some influential contemplative practices in which imagination was carefully explored as a disciplined way of cultivating and expanding awareness. The fourth section very briefly considers the philosophical question of the cognitive status of imagination at least in aesthetic production. The conclusion opens up discussion about how this tradition of thematizing imagination may enrich the contemporary study of imagination, whose philosophical roots lie in the Western tradition.
The Introduction presents the argument that aesthetic judgment in classical Arabic literary theory came to depend on the ability of poetry or eloquent speech to produce an experience of wonder in the listener. This experience of wonder is not merely a reaction of amazement and bedazzlement, but it also entails a process of discovery. After presenting an account of the nature of classical Arabic literary theory, its various approaches to literary assessment, its topics and historical development, the Introduction highlights that the main aspects of literary expression Arabic criticism was concerned with lay in rhetorical figures (badīʿ), simile (tashbīh), figurative speech (majāz), metaphor (istiʿāra), metonymy (kināya), and sentence construction (naẓm). It is in these aspects of linguistic expression that an aesthetic theory of wonder can be uncovered in the classical Arabic critical tradition, including in discussions of poetry proper, engagements with Aristotelian Poetics, and works on eloquence and the miraculousness (iʿjāz) of the Quran, culminating by the thirteenth century in the formalized study of eloquence in ʿilm al-balāgha (the science of eloquence).
What makes language beautiful? Arabic Poetics offers an answer to what this pertinent question looked like at the height of the Islamic civilization. In this novel argument, Lara Harb suggests that literary quality depended on the ability of linguistic expression to produce an experience of discovery and wonder in the listener. Analyzing theories of how rhetorical figures, simile, metaphor, and sentence construction are able to achieve this effect of wonder, Harb shows how this aesthetic theory, first articulated at the turn of the eleventh century CE, represented a major paradigm shift from earlier Arabic criticism which based its judgement on criteria of truthfulness and naturalness. In doing so, this study poses a major challenge to the misconception in modern scholarship that Arabic criticism was 'traditionalist' or 'static', exposing an elegant widespread conceptual framework of literary beauty in the post-eleventh-century Islamicate world which is central to poetic criticism, the interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics in Arabic philosophy and the rationale underlying discussions about the inimitability of the Quran.
In this statement, I argue that one way for archaeology to realize the potential of its materials to tell us something different about the past is to confront the question of alterity, understood as the ontological difference that lies at the roots of much archaeological material. If we accept alterity as a starting point of analysis then we stand a chance of challenging the strictures of interpretive frameworks that foreclose the possibility of encountering something new. Methodologically and theoretically I argue for risk-taking, especially taking on conceptual resources from indigenous thinkers and adopting a stance of wonder in the face of our materials which can open up unsuspected archaeological realities.
This paper analyses the use of wonder in the TV-series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980). Popular science has been studied extensively (e.g. Broks 2006; Leane 2007; Perrault 2013), and wonder has been studied moderately (e.g. Daston & Park 1998; Fuller 2006; Vasalou 2015). However, there are very few studies of wonder in popular science. This paper explores how and why wonder is used in Cosmos, with the wider aim of understanding uses of wonder in popular science. The studies that discuss wonder in popular science (Fahnestock 1986; Perrault 2013) argue that wonder is used to enthuse the audience about science, but they do not discuss why wonder has this ability, nor whether wonder has other functions. This paper argues that Fuller's (2006) psychological and evolutionary account of wonder can elucidate why wonder has the ability to enthuse; it discerns three senses of ‘wonder’ (related to objects, emotions and attitudes); and it discusses other functions of wonder (existential, aesthetic and ethical). Due to the centrality of astrobiological questions in Cosmos, this paper also highlights the relation of these questions to the senses and functions of wonder in Cosmos.
In the Theological-Political Treatise, Spinoza offers a secular account of sovereign authority. Scripture is full of examples in which sovereigns point to some supposed miracle in order to inspire awe and wonder in their subjects. This chapter argues that collective action problems in Spinoza's social contract theory cannot be solved via Spinoza's strong sense of reason without begging the question. All forms of religion are not problematic in Spinoza's view. Religion must be stripped of its metaphysical pretensions. The chapter shows that even if there is no explicit appeal to miracles and their attendant wonder, there is another way in which the structure of the miracle has been imported into Spinoza's political thinking at a key point. It claims that Spinoza re-establishes the structure of the miracle in his account of the lawmaker's will. The purpose of human law is to regulate those who are passionate and tend to conflict.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.