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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For not only in the degree of his excellences, but also in their number, Lysias is much inferior to Plato; and sublimlty the same time he surpasses him in his faults still more than he falls below him in his excellences. But this must 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 lonfinus is extremely pretentious.

Johns Hopkins University Press. Let this be understood not of proper compression, but of what is absolutely petty and cut into segments. Then, in order that the narrative may not, as it advances, continue in the same groove for continuance betokens tranquillity, while passion — the transport and commotion of the soul — sets order at defiancestraightway he hurries off to other Asyndeta and Repetitions.

The blood he called the fodder of xublimity flesh. Demosthenes, on the other hand, is not an apt delineator of character, he is not facile, he is anything but pliant or epideictic, he is comparatively lacking in the entire list of excellences just given.

And in tragedy to be Ion of Chios rather than — Sophocles? And let this, my dear friend, be an aim to which we stedfastly apply ourselves.

The emotion should be strong and natural expressed in lofty and elevated language so that it can move the readers with pleasure and persuasion. In life nothing can be considered great which it is held great to despise. Having, I say, absorbed bodily within himself these mighty gifts which we may deem heaven-sent for lnoginus would not be right to term them humanhe thus with the noble qualities which are his own routs all comers even where the qualities he does not possess are concerned, and overpowers with thunder and with lightning the orators of every age.


But the truth is not of this nature, nor anything like it. So he at once rushes forward and carries his hearer off his feet. A lofty tone, says one, is innate, and does not come by teaching; nature is the only art that can compass it. And so with the words of Eurylochus: Nevertheless — and the counsel about to be given longibus to the beginning of our memoir — since freedom from failings is for the most part the successful result of art, and excellence though it may be unevenly sustained the result of sublimity, the employment of art is in every way a fitting aid to nature; for it is the conjunction of the two which tends to ensure perfection.

In the slave there immediately burst out signs of fettered liberty of speech, of the dungeon as it were, of a man habituated to buffetings. He does not pray for life, for such a petition longonus have ill beseemed a hero. The vertebrae, he says, are fixed beneath like pivots.

Triviality of expression is also apt to disfigure sublimity. It is said, indeed, that the germ of the oath is found in Eupolis: Given his positive reference to Genesis, Longinus has been assumed to be either a Hellenized Jew or readily familiar with the Jewish culture.

On the Sublime by Longinus

Longonus with writing sulbimity number of literary works, Longinus was disciple of Plotinusand considered “the most distinguished scholar of his day. 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 Loving Lysias better even than himself, he nevertheless hates Plato more perfectly than he loves Lysias.

The expression is a most ordinary one, but it has gained elevation through the aptness of the structure of the line.

Owing to the correspondence between word and thing it seems to me to be highly expressive; and yet Caecilius for some unexplained reason finds fault with it. The whole mount shared their bacchic ecstasy. Is it not precisely by the visualizing qualities of these figures that Demosthenes strives to make his speeches far more effective and impressive?


In reply, however, to the writer who maintains that the faulty Colossus is not superior to the Spearman of Polycleitus, it is obvious to remark among many other things that in art the utmost exactitude is admired, grandeur in the works subllimity nature; and that it is by nature that man is a being gifted with speech.

Examples of a similar nature are to be found in a never-ending series.

On the Sublime

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Dionysius maintained ideas which are absolutely opposite to those written in the treatise; with Longinus, there are problems with chronology. In truth, Homer in these cases shares the full inspiration of the combat, and it is neither more nor less than true of the poet himself that. The great thoughts come from the imagination of a great creative genius and from a sound interpretation of the imitation of nature and of the great predecessors.

He possesses the gift of characterisation in a sweet and pleasant form and with a touch of piquancy. Aeschylus, too, ventures on images of a most heroic stamp.

You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. On the Sublime is both a treatise on aesthetics and a work of literary criticism.

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?