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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Sometimes, however, he introduces ideas that are rough-hewn and uncouth and harsh; and Euripides, when stirred by the spirit of emulation, comes perilously near the same fault, even in spite of his own natural bent.

These observations with regard to the Odyssey should be made for another reason — in order that you may know that the lonignus of great poets and lnginus, as their passion declines, finds its final expression in the delineation of character. XXXVI Now as regards the manifestations of the sublime in literature, in which grandeur longonus 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.

The treatise highlights examples of good and bad writing from the previous millennium, focusing particularly on what may lead to the sublime. But this subblimity only be done in cases in which the subject admits of amplification or redundancy or exaggeration or passion — one or more of these — since we all know that a richly caparisoned style is extremely pretentious.

For instance, Sappho everywhere lonhinus the emotions that attend delirious passion from its accompaniments in actual life. In a still higher degree Thucydides is most bold and skilful in disjoining from one another by means of transpositions things longinu are by nature intimately united and indivisible.


The same is true of the words which Euripides attributes to his Cassandra: Given his positive reference to Genesis, Longinus has been assumed to be either a Hellenized Jew or readily familiar with the Jewish culture. To give to the maids of Odysseus the godlike their command To forsake their labours, and yonder for them the banquet oj lay? VI The best means would be, friend, to gain, first of all, clear knowledge and appreciation of the true sublime.

On the Sublime – Wikipedia

Moreover, about one-third of the treatise is missing; [5] Longinus’ segment on similes, for instance, has only a few words remaining. Xenophon furnishes an illustration. Amplification and the sublime ; Writers on rhetoric misdefine amplification ; Amplification defined ; [Lacuna] Elevation in Plato, Cicero and Demosthenes ; Elevation, emulation and the sublime, Plato ; Emulation versus plagiarism ; Emulation as inspiration ; Imagine audiences from succeeding ages.

Aeschylus, too, ventures on images of a most heroic stamp. Wherein does she demonstrate her supreme excellence? Among the chief causes of the sublime in speech, as in the structure of the human body, is the collocation of members, a single one of which if severed from another possesses in itself nothing remarkable, but all united together make a full and perfect organism.

On the Sublime by Longinus

For he talks with simplicity, where it is required, and does not adopt like Demosthenes one unvarying tone in all his utterances. Homer seems to me, in his legends of wounds suffered by the gods, and of their feuds, reprisals, tears, bonds, and all their manifold sublimitt, to have made, as far as lay within his power, gods of the men concerned in the Siege of Troy, and men of the gods.

Ancient Greek rhetoricians Literary theorists Books of literary criticism Platonism Greek literature post-classical Texts in Koine Greek Literary critics Aesthetics literature Roman philosophical literature. There was a problem with your submission. In like longknus those words are destitute of sublimity which lie too close together, and are cut up into short and tiny syllables, and are held together as if with wooden bolts by sheer inequality and ruggedness.

They lie nearer to our minds through a sort of natural kinship and through their own radiance, and always strike our attention before the figures, whose art they throw into the shade and as it were keep in concealment. Such a composition appeals to the soul and enables the readers to participate in the emotions of the author. In every systematic treatise two things are required.


And, in a sense, ridicule is an amplification of the paltriness of things. For naturally a theme seems more imposing to the ear when proper names are thus added, one upon the other, in troops. Thus in Aeschylus the palace of Lycurgus at the coming of Dionysus is strangely represented as possessed: It is said, indeed, that the germ of the oath is found in Eupolis: It is a statement in question form that suggests its own answer.

On the Sublime

Wikiquote has quotations related to: In his poem the battle of the Greeks is suddenly veiled by mist and baffling night. Next there is noble diction, which in turn comprises choice of words, and use of metaphors, and elaboration of language. The theme of his Panegyric is that Athens surpasses Lacedaemon in benefits conferred upon Greece, and yet at the very outset of his speech he uses these words: Such are the decisions to which we have felt bound to come with regard to the questions proposed; but let every man cherish the view which pleases him best.

In an age which is ravaged by plagues so sore, is it possible for us to imagine that there is still left an unbiassed and incorruptible judge of works that are great and likely to reach posterity, or is it not rather the case that all are influenced in their decisions by the passion for gain? How unlike to this the expression which is used of Sorrow by Hesiod, if indeed the Shield is to be attributed to Hesiod:.

Where the words are singular, to make them plural is the mark of unlooked-for passion; and where they are plural, the rounding of a number of things into a fine-sounding singular is surprising owing to the converse change.

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