This text is adapted from Longinus on the Sublime, translated by W. Rhys Roberts (London: Cambridge University Press, ). II. First of all. The Project Gutenberg EBook of On the Sublime, by Longinus This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions. The author of On the Sublime, who almost certainly was not Longinus, but instead was an anonymous Greek rhetorician of the first century, argues throughout.

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And it is in these same respects, my dear friend Terentianus, that it seems to me supposing always that we Greeks are allowed to have an opinion sublimit the point that Cicero differs from Demosthenes in elevated passages.

On the Sublime – Wikipedia

Introduction ; nature and source of the sublime ; Is there an art of the sublime? Then over the surges he drave: For the lines detached from one another, but none the less hurried along, produce the impression of an agitation which interposes obstacles and at the same time adds impetuosity. For since we have previously indicated those qualities which render style noble and lofty, it is evident that their opposites will for the most part make it low and base.

Furthermore, the poet in his oath has not made divinities of the men in order so to create in his hearers a worthy conception of their valour, shblimity he has wandered away from those who stood in the forefront of the danger to an inanimate thing — the fight. On the Sublime is both a treatise on aesthetics and a work of literary criticism. Freedom, Democracy and Eloquence: Moreover, he inverts the order of ideas. Cambridge University Press, pp. And no wonder; for they are beside themselves, while their hearers are not.

It is a type of timidity or bombasting use of language, which he thinks, is drier than dropsy. In this way, with him, order is disorderly, and on the other hand disorder contains a certain longinuw of order.

Despite Longinus’ critical acclaim, his writing is far from perfect. Here the natural order would have been: If, I say, the critic of those who desire to learn were to turn subblimity matters over in his mind, he would no longer, it seems to me, regard the discussion of the subject as superfluous or useless.

The author’s identity has been debated for centuries. But at the present day the word is predominantly used in cases where, carried away by enthusiasm and passion, you think you see what you describe, and you place it before the loginus of your hearers. XXII Hyperbataor inversionsmust be placed under the same category.


Now the definition given by the writers on rhetoric does not satisfy me. Wikisource has original text related to this article: We may further quote that passage of Herodotus which is regarded as one of the most elevated: Herzog says that he thinks of Longinus as a good friend and considers that Longinus’s notions of illumination has a parallel in some moments in his films. Why, what greater news could there be than this, that a Macedonian is subduing Greece? XXXVI Now as regards the manifestations of the sublime in literature, in which grandeur is never, as it sometimes is in nature, found apart from utility and advantage, it is fitting to observe at once that, though writers of this magnitude are far removed from faultlessness, they none the less all rise above what is mortal; that all other qualities prove their possessors to be men, but sublimity raises them near the majesty of God; and that while immunity from errors relieves from censure, it is grandeur that excites admiration.

In all the contests he has to resign the first place to his rivals, while he maintains that place as against all ordinary persons. Let this be understood not of proper compression, but of what is absolutely petty and cut into segments. The effect of elevated language upon an audience is not persuasion but transport. In addition to all this, countless myriads of Greek and barbaric weapons, and beasts of burden beyond all reckoning and victims fattened for slaughter, and many bushels of condiments, and many bags and sacks and sheets of papyrus and all other useful things, and an equal number of pieces of salted flesh from all manner of victims, so that the piles of them were so great that those who were approaching from a distance took them to be hills and eminences confronting them.

First, then, it is absolutely necessary to indicate the source of this elevation, namely, that the truly eloquent must be free from low and ignoble thoughts.

And, in a sense, ridicule is an amplification of the paltriness of things. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. First of all, we must raise the question whether there is such a thing as an art of the sublime or lofty.


What fact, then, was before the eyes of those superhuman writers who, aiming at everything that was highest in composition, contemned an all-pervading accuracy? XVI HERE, however, in due order comes the place assigned to Figures; for they, if handled in the proper manner, will longinuz, as I have said, longnus no mean degree to sublimity. You have garnered in your souls the goodliest of all possessions and the fittest for warriors. Wayne State Dublimity Press. About a third of the manuscript is lost.

I have myself noted not a few errors on the part of Homer and other writers of the greatest distinction, and the slips they have made afford me anything but pleasure. It is obvious, however, even though I do not dwell upon it, that longinhs use of tropes, like all other beauties of expression, is apt to lead to excess.

On the Sublime by Longinus

Sometimes, indeed, the listeners knowing beforehand the due terminations stamp their feet in time with the speaker, and as in a dance give the right step in anticipation. Those mansions ghastly and grim, abhorred of the very Gods. By a sort of natural law in all such matters we always attend to whatever possesses superior force; whence it is that we are drawn away from demonstration pure and simple to any startling image within whose dazzling brilliancy the argument lies concealed.

Anaphora, polybaton, periphrasis etc. Works of nature are, they think, made worse and altogether feebler when wizened by the rules of art. The fifth cause of elevation — one which is the fitting conclusion of all that have preceded it — is dignified and elevated composition. The fourth source of sublime is diction that includes choice and arrangement of words. It must needs be, therefore, that we shall find one source of the sublime in the systematic selection of the most important elements, and the power of forming, by their mutual combination, what may be called one body.

For he talks with simplicity, where it is required, and does not adopt like Demosthenes one unvarying tone in all his utterances. Secondly, there is vehement and inspired passion.

Translators have been unable to clearly interpret the text, including the title itself. The author is unknown.