Marlene Goldman in Paths of Desire: Images of Exploration and Mapping in Canadian Women’s Writing in a discussion of Jane Urquhart’s The Whirlpool provides us with a concise and incisive explanation of the sublime:
According to both authors [Burke and Kant], these emotions arise because sublime objects challenge the mind’s capacity to organize experience. […] For Kant, however, astonishment is only the first step of a complicated cognitive process which leads the mind to recognize itself as sublime and the source of the sublime in nature, and to substitute the humiliating awareness of our ‘physical impotence’ in the face of nature for the empowering awareness of ‘an ability to judge ourselves independent of nature’
The explanation is not an endorsement. In her introduction, she indicates that such accounts of the sublime “help clarify the dangers involved in adhering to the concept, which is based on the sacrifice of the body and nature in favour of an illusory sense of power and transcendence.”
It is the key phrase “challenge the mind’s capacity to organize experience” that reverberates. It seems the key to understanding the reading, copying and making of maps, Maps chafe the imagination: taking a this for a that.
The mind that resists metaphor has a hard time processing maps.
X marks the spot. And the view is sublime.
And by the recursive work of revisioning, we come to learn of an other, an immanent source of power. And learn with Austin Warren that “Art is the ordering of landscapes and loves.” (Rage for Order).
And so for day 602