Pyle, "Letter on an Aestheticist Education"

Pyle's epistolary essay approaches the topic of a sublime education first as a particular pedagogical assignment: just how does one teach the sublime as a mode of aesthetic experience as well as a question posed for and by philosophical aesthetics. This directive prompts readings of two poems by Shelley which explicitly link aesthetic experience to forms of instruction: 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty' and 'Mont Blanc.' He argues that one lesson to be learned from Shelley's poetic teaching is an aestheticism. Subsequent sections in the essay address the implications of this aestheticism for those who resist it (de Man, Spivak) and those who don't (Wilde, Foucault). He concludes the essay by turning to a passage—at once sublime and pedagogical—from _The Triumph of Life_ which arrives at what he calls a genuinely radical aestheticism.. This essay appears in _The Sublime and Education_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.