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| Donald Worster on: The Sublime Landscape
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Donald Worster on: The Sublime Landscape
Donald Worster Q: It must have been tremendous, thrilling to pass through this landscape that was getting more and more dramatic all the time. He was climbing up to get that view off the top of the canyon rim. Can you speculate on how that must have affected him?

DW: Well, he mentions, at one point, in his narrative of the exploration, standing on the rim looking down at his men. He wasn't way up on the top of the canyon rim, but way up above them on the rocks, looking down at their little encampment, these three little boats that they've got down there, by this point. They're camped, they got a little fire going, with driftwood, but they're just a little pin prick in this landscape. The sense of being overwhelmed by this physical landscape, that the human was so overwhelmed by the size of this landscape and the sense of the age of this place, in human terms, just overwhelmed him, as it did, I'm sure, his men, as well. Nobody had ever encountered ah landscapes like this in the eastern part of the United States. He had never seen landscapes like this. He'd been up and down the Rockies in Colorado, climbing peaks 14,000 feet, but those did not bring home to him or cause him to break out in the kinds of descriptions that he did-- the sense of being humbled by this place. The word that they used in the 19th century to describe landscapes like this was sublime, and this was the most sublime place on earth. Sublime meant it evoked feelings of terror and wonder, at the same time, almost religious feelings.

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