Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Theory and Criticism

Supervisor

Jan Plug

2nd Supervisor

John Vanderheide

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

Interrogating the notion of the differend, taken from Jean-Franҫois Lyotard’s book of the same name, in which a wrong occurs along with the impossibility of its representation as a wrong, this thesis attempts to rearticulate the relationship between the distant and heterogeneous theories dealing with a supposedly common subject matter: namely, the sublime. The sublime as it is taken up in the rhetorical pedagogy of Longinus, the transcendental aesthetic of Immanuel Kant, and the postmodern theory of Jean-Franҫois Lyotard refuses to yield a shared dimension that could bind together these major moments of thought. There are sublimes, it seems, rather than a single sublime. Against this, I contend that the thought of these three figures all constitute a site for a differend involving that which is both singular and irreducible in its happening here and now and therefore always escapes representation: the event of presentation as such.