Jovellanos en sus escritos íntimos: El paisaje y la emoción estética de «lo sublime»

Translated title of the contribution: Jovellanos in his intimate writings: The scenery and the aesthetic emotion of the sublime

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The Diario (Diary) foregrounds Jovellanos's interest in recording Spain and its geography in a historical, statistical, economic and political sense. Like his celebrated report on political economy, the Informe sobre la ley agraria (Report on Agricultural Law), the Diario creates a moral and civil conscience that is profoundly oriented toward the social reform of Spain. Even so, the circumstance of his exile causes his gaze to acquire in this intimate work a quality unlike that of the Report. Jovellanos describes the disturbing beauty of wild landscapes and experiences in his Diary the emotional commotion that Burke (Philosophical Enquiry, 1757) and Kant (Critique of Judgment, 1790) recorded as the sublime. The pages of his Diary on which the word "sublime" and its accompanying emotions appear reveal an anxiety that threatens to undermine Jovellanos's commitment to societal progress and the power of reason; that is, the suppositions of rational subjectivity that underlay his work as politician and writer. The concept of the sublime introduces narrative spaces of great emotion that reveal an important turn toward an epiphanic subjectivity that in successive decades would come to the fore in Romanticism. However, Jovellanos tempers his enthusiasm. On the threshold of the sublime he takes a step back. His self-alienation appears to prohibit the reader entry into zones of his private person and to frustrate the expectation of the reader of such intimate literature that he will come to know the man. And yet, it is precisely in these moments of hesitation where the reader is allowed access to the diarist's inner struggle and to his negotiations between his private self and his social persona.

Translated title of the contributionJovellanos in his intimate writings: The scenery and the aesthetic emotion of the sublime
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)489-502
Number of pages14
JournalRevista de Literatura
Issue number136
StatePublished - 2006


  • Aesthetics
  • Diary
  • Jovellanos
  • Kant
  • Sublime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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