Longinus--On the Sublime

Longinus, like Horace, takes a pragmatic position. His central query is,  what is good composing, and how should it be achieved?  His first response is that good writing partakes of what he calls the " sublime. "  OK, to date that isn't very helpful. Good writing will take part of the great. TAUTOLOGY WARN! TAKE COVER UNDER THE NEARBY COPY OF THE O. Elizabeth. D.! Precisely what is the classy?

" Sublimity is a particular distinction and excellence in expression. "  Well... what a little better, but not very much. The " elevated language" of the sublime aims to solid a spell over the audience, not merely persuading but transporting the audience within an enthralling and delightful manner to the bottom line desired by the writer. Just what exactly we have seems to boil down for this: good publishing partakes with the sublime, as well as the sublime is comprised of raised language which in turn takes the audience out of itself and into someplace the article writer has in mind. This is still to some extent nebulous, however it gets sharper along the way. Longinus identifies three problems to avoid within the quest for sublimity: 1) Tumidity;

2) Puerility; and

3) Parenthyrsus.

Tumidity tries to " transcend the limits of the sublime" through phony elevation and overblown terminology. Puerility (from the Latin puer--boy) is the problem Longinus associates with pedants: it is made up of " discovered trifling, " a hair-splitting (often seen in the internet pages of College English language, and anything coming out of a great MLA convention) which becomes " tawdry and damaged. " Parenthyrsus is the manifestation of false, empty, or out-of-place love, a kind of mawkish, tear-jerker sentimentality of the lowest-common-denominator sort. Longinus identifies since the source of such " unpleasant and parasitical growths in literature" the " quest for novelty in the expression of ideas. "        �

Longinus goes on to identify five elements of the sublime:

1) " the strength of forming superb conceptions";

2) " vehement and inspired passion";

3) " the due creation of figures";



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