Abstract

McCarthy, "Dumbstruck: Christabel, the Sublime, and the Willing Suspension of Disbelief"

McCarthy examines the conjunction of stupidity, the sublime, and suspension in Coleridge's _Christabel_. Seen in the context of _Christabel_, Coleridge's famous 'willing suspension of disbelief' should be understood as a dual posture of holding back (one's judgment or disbelief) and giving over (to the experience of the unknown)--that is, making oneself receptive to the dangers and potential elevations of sublime experience. 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.