Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Jan Plug

2nd Supervisor

John Vanderheide

Joint Supervisor


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.