Aesthetics is, at its best and at its origins, a form of hunting. Not only a hunt for the beautiful and the sublime, but also for the ensnarement and identification of subtle experiences, ambivalent impressions, and novel sensations. If beauty and truth represent the big game—the promise of freedom, happiness, and peace on earth—the minor aesthetic categories are smaller, but still significant, quarry. Even in the eighteenth century, in the writing of Edmund Burke and Richard Payne Knight,
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