It would be an odd come to a conclusion about what it was a This might, of course, be begging the question. Abstraction necessarily plays a large role in the creation of a category such as "sublime;' and we should not overlook the degree to which the sublimity dealt with in this present history tends toward the notional from the moment of its inception. That it is impossible to imagine the history of the sublime without the impetus of Longinus's work is not, however, quite so significant as it might appear. Many eighteenth-century writers, even in the process of discussing "the sublime," commented that they could not see the rationale behind Longinus' inclusion of some examples; a lack of sympathy that suggests these writers already had something specific in mind when they came to his work. I It is remarkable, moreover, how quickly the sublime (of this history) broke away from the model implicit in the totality of Longinus' examples, and the vigor with which it subsequently grew. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility that in the eighteenth century, no less than today, what writers had foremost in their minds were the words of other writers, rather than the immediacy of their own experience. Burke illustrates the material sublime with quotations from the classics; Kant, the great theorist of the sublime, exemplifies it with the effect of the Pyramids and St. Peter's, which he had never seen; Radcliffe, the great novelist of the sublime, describes a landscape she had not visited; Whitman, singing the song of himself, dredges up every cliche of the genre. "Precipices, mountains, torrents, wolves, rumblings, Salvator Rosa;' commented Walpole on the Alps.?