bout the middle of the nineteenth century, Ruskin, who discusses the sublime within the context of modern culture, proposed that nature worship, delight in the picturesque, and other concerns associated with Romanticism all derive from urbanization. According to him, when people find themselves living in cities cut off from nature they began to romanticize it. From this point of view, the cult of the sublime seems in some way related to urbanization and technology.
By the twentieth century, one observes authors creating a technological sublime in which the power of human creations-- moon rockets, atomic weapons, skyscrapers, and gigantic, mile-long trains -- produce the same effect as the Grand Canyon, Mont Blanc, and the infinite reaches of space. Once again, in other words, the sublime served as a category for aesthetic experience that did not fit elswhere.
Last modified 1988