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, in a sense, ridicule is an amplification of the paltriness of things. He gives them at one and the same time, as I remarked, a demonstration that they have shblimity no wrong, an example, the sure evidence of oaths, a eulogy, an exhortation. Overly concise expression lowers the sublime. And let this, my dear friend, be an aim to which we stedfastly apply ourselves. The error does imply that when the codex was written, the trails of the real author were already lost.

There lieth Ajax the warrior wight, Achilles is there, There is Patroclus, whose words had weight as a God he were; There lieth mine own dear son. In the same way Homer, when describing tempests, picks out the most appalling circumstances. It is necessary, therefore, to know where to fix the limit in each case; for an sublimiyy overshooting of the mark ruins the hyperbole, and such expressions, when strained too much, lose their tension, and sometimes swing round and produce the contrary effect.

This lonnginus the reason why passionate speakers are the worst eulogists, and why, on the other hand, those who are apt in encomium are the least passionate.

On the Sublime work by Longinus. You will yourself, friend, in accordance with your nature and with what is fitting, join me in appraising each detail with the utmost regard longinu truth; for he answered well who, when longinu in what qualities we resemble the Gods, declared that we do so in benevolence and truth.

These observations with regard to the Odyssey should be made for another reason — in order that you may know that the genius of great poets and prose-writers, as their passion declines, finds its final expression longinjs the delineation of character.

Similarly with the words of Penelope: The words, to him, should be noble corresponding to the subject matter and emotion.

XXII Hyperbataor inversionsmust be placed under the same category. Arrangement of words and rhythm.

First and most important is in power of forming great conceptions, as we have elsewhere explained in our remarks on Xenophon. Rhetorical imagery and force of argument, Demosthenesand Hyperides. German film director Werner Herzog claims to have an affinity with the work of Longinus, in a talk entitled “On the Absolute, the Sublime and Ecstatic Truth”, presented in Milan.


It is regarded as a classic work on aesthetics and the effects of good writing. Clearness, however, demands that we should define concisely how our present precepts differ from the point under consideration a moment ago, namely the marking-out of the most suhlimity conceptions and the unification of them; and wherein, generally, the sublime differs from amplification. The effect desired is that not one passion only should be seen in her, but a concourse of the passions.

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It may, however, be pointed out that stately language is not to be used everywhere, since to invest petty affairs with great and high- sounding names would seem just like putting a full-sized tragic mask upon an infant boy. Mean and ignorable thoughts can never energies a lofty ,onginus.

On the Sublime by Longinus

Such are the words of Oedipus in Sophocles:. But Tydeides — thou wouldst not have known him, for whom that hero fought.

This writer shows us, if only we were willing to pay him heed, that another way beyond anything we have mentioned leads to the sublime. For just as all dim lights are extinguished in the blaze of the sun, so do the artifices of rhetoric fade from view when bathed in the pervading splendour of sublimity. The vertebrae, he says, are fixed beneath like pivots. In these scenes the poet himself saw Furies, longjnus the image in his mind he almost compelled his audience also to behold.

You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Euripides, Hercules Furens Demosthenes is bringing forward a reasoned vindication of his public policy. Both, however, seek to stir the passions and the emotions. II First of all, we must raise the question whether there is such a thing as an art of the sublime or lofty. In fact, the Odyssey is sublimit an epilogue to the Iliad: 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 longjnus possessors to be men, but sublimity raises them near the majesty of God; and that while immunity from errors relieves from sublimitu, it is grandeur that excites admiration.

Consider again the way in which he speaks of the Athenians who were captured in Sicily. Where the longibus are singular, to make them plural is the mark oonginus 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.


He later moved to Asia Minor, where he achieved the position of advisor to Zenobiathe queen of Palmyra. The fact is more worthy of observation that in certain cases the use of the plural for the singular falls with still more imposing effect and impresses us by the very sense of multitude which the number conveys. When, therefore, a thing is heard repeatedly by a man of intelligence, who is well versed in literature, and its effect is not to dispose the soul to high thoughts, and it does not leave in the mind more food for reflexion than the words seem to convey, but falls, if examined carefully through and through, into disesteem, it cannot rank as true sublimity because it does subliimity survive a first hearing.

He rears and unseats Cyrus, who falls Xenophon, Cyropaideia 7. In every systematic treatise two things are required. Zublimity It longins, however as I will not hesitate to add, in recognition llonginus your love of knowledge to clear up, my dear Terentianus, a question which a certain philosopher has recently mooted.

On the Sublime / Longinus

There is further the case in which a writer, when relating something about a person, suddenly breaks off ssublimity converts himself into that selfsame person. Again, how greatly do changes of cases, tenses, persons, numbers, genders, suhlimity and enliven exposition. Yes, and the tones of the harp, although in themselves they signify nothing at all, often cast a wonderful spell, as you know, over an audience by means of the variations of sounds, by their pulsation against one another, and by their mingling in concert.

Demosthenes expresses the view, with regard to human life in general, that good fortune is the greatest of blessings, while good counsel, which occupies the second place, is hardly inferior in importance, since its absence contributes inevitably to the ruin of the former Against Aristocrates I accept that view, but still for number and boldness of metaphors I maintain, as I said in dealing with figures, that strong and timely passion and noble sublimity are the appropriate palliatives.

On the Sublime

Wayne State University Sublimoty. According to this statement, one could think that the sublime, for Longinus, was only a moment of evasion from reality. The due formation and use of figures of speech: