From Peithô's Web

W. Rhys Roberts translation


Chapters 1-6

Introduction; nature and source of the sublime; Is there an art of the sublime?; [Lacuna]; swollen bombast; Parenthyrsus, unseasonable or empty passion; Frigidity; Strengths and defects usually share common sources; Avoiding defects.

Chapters 7-9

The sublime requires high thoughts; Five sources of sublime language; Passion is not the same as the sublime; witness the orators' eulogies. But fervent passion contributes much to the sublime; Greatness of soul is the foremost condition of the sublime; [Lacuna]; Sublime and worthy images; An example from the lawmaker of the Jews; The sublime appeal of Ajax; The Odyssey compared to the Iliad.

Chapter 10

Harmonizing elements, Sappho; Sappho's 'Peer of Gods' fragment; Examples and misses from the realm of terror.

Chapters 11-14

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;

Chapter 15

The power of images; Poetic vs rhetorical images, poetic images from Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles. Rhetorical imagery and force of argument, Demosthenes, and Hyperides;

Chapter 16-17

Figures; Apostrophe; Passion and the sublime conceal rhetorical artifice;

Chapters 18-22

Questions and interrogations; [Lacuna]; asyndeton --omitting conjunctions; Combining asyndeton with other figures; Smooth connecting particles sap passion; Hyperbata, or inversions and vehemence;

Chapters 23-27

Polyptota, accumulations, variations, and climaxes; Making one into many; many into one; Making the past present; Interchanging people; putting the audience in the action; becoming part of the action.

Chapters 28-29

Periphrasis, powerful, but hazardous.

Chapters 30-32

Choosing proper and striking words that fit the thought; [Lacuna]. Metaphors.

Chapters 30-32

Is sublimity or stylistic purity to be preferred. Demosthenes versus Hyperides. Plato versus Lysias. Literature: sublime versus faultless writers; Posterity has judged.

Chapters 37-41

Comparisons and similes ... [Lacuna]. ... Hyperbole. Arrangement of words and rhythm. Faults in arrangement and rhythm.

Chapters 42-44

Overly concise expression lowers the sublime. As does triviality of expression. Freedom, Democracy and Eloquence: two views. Transition to the passions (lost).

Credits: The picture in the banner is adapted from a detail of "Poetry", by Sir Lawrence Alma -Tadema, courtesy of Art Magic. The translation from Roberts' Longinus on the Sublime (Cambridge University Press, 1899) was scanned and edited by Agathon for Peithô's Web. No liability for errors etc. is accepted. Comments and corrections are welcomed.

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