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In this chapter, Alfrey explores the central role that the aesthetic category of the sublime has played throughout Slavoj Žižek’s oeuvre—a role about which literary critics have had surprisingly little to say. As Alfrey explains, contrary to the more traditional romantic sublime of Burke and Kant—a sublime situated along the vertical axis of transcendence—Žižek’s “ridiculous sublime” is situated along the horizontal axis of immanence. Born, on the one hand, of the gap in immanence inscribed in the Hegelian dialectic (a gap that keeps thesis and antithesis in perpetual relation and forestalls any final Aufhebung) and, on the other hand, by the gap in the Symbolic inscribed in the Lacanian process of sublimation (a gap embodied by the objet petit a), Žižek’s ridiculous sublime, Alfrey demonstrates, is comprised not of grandiose objects but of “miserable little pieces of the Real” rife with the power of subjectivization and subjection.

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