“Weiskel’s attempt is itself sublime… Perhaps it will always mark one of the limits of twentieth-century criticism of the High Romantic poets.”
— Harold Bloom
Thomas Weiskel died in a skating accident along with his daughter, Shelburne, on 1 December of 1974. The original edition of this book — based on his PhD thesis — was published posthumously by The Johns Hopkins University Press in 1976 with introductory comments by his wife, Portia Weiskel.
Tom Weiskel had been a close friend in Cambridge, England of a fellow student of literature, Clive James, in the late 1960s. James later wrote many books of literary criticism and autobiography, some of which he dedicated to the memory of Tom Weiskel. In one of his final publications — an excerpt of which he recorded for The New Yorker magazine — Clive James alluded to their friendship and Weiskel’s tragic death with his daughter, Shelburne, in his poem, “The River in the Sky.”
Weiskel’s book, The Romantic Sublime, has been widely used as a textbook for exploring the experience of the sublime in many fields as well as the themes, perspectives, intentions and accomplishments of the English Romantic poets. Numerous paperback editions of this volume have appeared since 1976 including these pictured here.