On The Sublime by Longinus

NEERAJ BHATT By NEERAJ BHATT, 1st Jan 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/pbbf6wxo/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Poetry, Drama & Criticism

Longinus describes five sources of sublimity--"great thoughts,strong emotion,certain figures of thought and speech,noble diction and dignified word arrangement."

On The Sublime by Longinus

"On The Sublime" is a small treatise of great significance. Longinus has not used the word 'sublime' in its modern, narrow and limited sense. What he means by the word 'sublime' is 'elevation' or 'loftiness'.
Thus by sublimity Longinus means, “a certain distinction and excellence in composition." The effect of this quality is not mere persuasion or pleasure.
Unlike Aristotle, he is not interested in the natural history of literature, or in the tragedy or the epic. He is interested in the phrase or passage which strikes fire from his mind. Form in the larger sense is not important.
He says: “Sublimity flashing forth at the right moment scatters everything before it like a thunderbolt, and at once displays the power of the orator in all its plenitude.”
Longinus speaks of faults to be avoided. He gives examples of the false sublime, bombast, ill-timed pathos, and frigidity. He measures these things not by rules but by the touch-stone of his own taste.
There are five fountains of Sublimity:-
1. Grandeur of Thought ,
2. Capacity for Strong Emotion,
3. Appropriate use of Figures of speech,
4. Nobility of Diction, and
5. Dignity and Elevation in Composition.
Nobody can produce a sublime work unless his thoughts are sublime. For, ‘Sublimity is the echoes of greatness of soul’ .To have great ideas one must have greatness. Men with mean ideas cannot produce anything that is admirable and worthy of immortality. He compares the odyssey and the Iliad. He then quotes a great poem of Sappho and preserves it for posterity. Mean and ignoble thoughts can never inspire a lofty utterance. What Longinus has in mind is that, “men catch fire from the spirit of others.”
Longinus puts emphasis on genuine emotion. Its contribution to loftiness of tone in writing is immense.
The third fountain of Sublimity is Figures of Speech. He considers it very important. Figures of Speech should not be used mechanically; rather they must be rooted in genuine emotion. ‘True emotions’ should be ‘in the right place’. The use of figures of speech must be psychological—intimately connected with thought and emotion, and not merely mechanical.
The forth source of the ‘Sublime’ is diction which includes choice and arrangements of words as well as the use of metaphor and simile. Both ordinary and striking words must be suitably chosen--- for impressive style. “Beautiful words are in truth the very light of thought.”He believes that sublimity is recognizable because within each of us is a power which aspire towards the great and noble.
Lastly Longinus considers the arrangement of words .Words must be harmoniously set. By arrangement and composition he simply means verbal order which is usually called rhythm. Such harmonious combination of words appeals to the soul.

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Beautiful, Elevations, Metaphor, Neeraj Bhatt, Noble, Pleasure, Simile, Sublime, Thunderbolt

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
POETRY&CULTURE
Reading poetry is my passion.

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Comments

author avatar Buzz
7th Jan 2012 (#)

A sublime article in itself, dear friend. I deeply appreciate your vast knowledge of the art of literary criticism. Thank you for sharing.

Namaste!

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
7th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you,Buzz,for your prompt reading,nice and keep it on, namaste.

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author avatar rama devi nina
7th Jan 2012 (#)

Namaste Neeraj-ji. Love the elevated thoughts expressed here--had not hear of this philosopher before. Thanks for sharing...and especially these two quotes:

“men catch fire from the spirit of others.”

and

“Beautiful words are in truth the very light of thought.”

SUBLIME!

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
7th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you, rama jee.hope to have your comments on other articles also.
Namaste !

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author avatar Sheila Newton
7th Jan 2012 (#)

Never heard the term 'Longinus' - I'll have to add it to my vocabulary. Super article, my friend.

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
8th Jan 2012 (#)

I am back after researching "Longinus". I had not hear of Longinus before. Apparently, he was not a poet but a 1st century Greek critic. Very interesting. Thank you.

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
13th Jan 2012 (#)

Correction: I had not "heard"........

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author avatar Pankaj kumar
8th Nov 2013 (#)

hi, i just have
started reading about longinus. lets see how intersting it is..

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
8th Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you Sheila Newton jee and Ivyelyn jee for your kind comments.NAMASTE !

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author avatar ittech
13th Jan 2012 (#)

I like it!

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
14th Jan 2012 (#)

thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
14th Feb 2012 (#)

Thanks for an uplifting article and analysis, Neeraj. We need to elevate our lives too to sublime levels - it is possible through compassion and love for wach other including for our fellow travelers - siva

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author avatar Yasir
5th Oct 2012 (#)

nice! any body who can tell me the exact date of birth of Longinus? plz there are contadiction, some says he z from 3 Bc and some are said to have , he was from first BC....

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author avatar Sandip
20th Nov 2012 (#)

Thank you

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author avatar Elora Okonji
5th Feb 2013 (#)

Thank you for your paper on the Sublime. It really helped me for my Term Paper, I was having problems understanding what the
On The Sublime by Longinus is all about until I read your paper. Thanks a million.

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author avatar Ahsan ullah
16th Jul 2013 (#)

i am highly thankful to u sir, who has written such an authentic kind of notes. this type of notes not only help the students for terminal exams but also have source of knowledge for the common run.

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author avatar Prakash
1st Oct 2013 (#)

Achieved your way follow spiritual regeneration

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author avatar Sumbul
3rd Oct 2013 (#)

thank you so much sir.it really helped me to understand what is sublime.

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author avatar Arvind kute
11th Nov 2013 (#)

thanks for nice information

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