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Works of Dionysius Longinus on the Sublime or a Treatise Concerning the Sovereign Perfection of Writing

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  200 ratings  ·  16 reviews
It must be a very unpleasing reflection to anyone who has a just and critical taste of the writings of the ancients to consider how many noble and useful works have been swallowed up in the ocean of time. Of what important value several of them were is to be collected from the character which contemporary authors and others have given to them, a circumstance that serves on...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published July 26th 2003 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 100)
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The below is ONLY for hardcore rhetoric nerds.

LONGINUS On The Sublime

...or how to be real fucking dull while lecturing us on how not to be real fucking dull.

This is one of those rhetorics that reminds me of why I love the Sophists. They didn't come from posh backgrounds and had to sing for their suppers, so had an immediate pecuniary interest in being interesting, handily giving demonstrative lessons on how to be interesting, unlike so many classical rhetoricians who would instruct us on such wi...more
Evan Leach
This little book, written by an unknown author sometime in the first century AD*, is the most significant piece of literary criticism surviving from ancient Rome. The author argues that exceptional (or “sublime”) writing contains at least one of five features:

(i) The power to conceive “great thoughts,” either through an author’s natural talent or by the author’s use of imitative and/or visualization techniques.

(ii) Strong and inspired emotion. This portion of the book is no longer extant.

It surprises me that Longinus is not as well as known as I think he should be, given the influence of his ideas. I'll say this, though: anyone who cares about putting words together in order to express something of him or herself to the world should read On the Sublime. "Longinus" (the identity of the man who wrote this collection of writings has never been clearly established by scholars) was one of the earliest thinkers (around the first century AD) who saw in words their ability, given the pr...more
Lots of lacunae, and what remains is mostly vague or fan-boyish praise of his favorite authors (Homer and Plato). I found, however, the later sections on rhetorical devices and techniques useful.
Jun 28, 2014 Tulpa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tulpa by: T.
My friend asked if I had read this book because my own views on aesthetics are mostly identical to the ones in this.

It's certainly a good and interesting work, and not only because I broadly agreed with it before I had read a single word of it. The work's goal can be summed up by Chapter VI: "Our best hope of doing this will be first of all to grasp some definite theory and criterion of the true Sublime. Nevertheless this is a hard matter; for a just judgment of style is the final fruit of long...more
It's remarkable that nobody knows who Longinus was taking into account that this work still exists and is considered highly influential. It's estimated that he or she wrote this book in the first century, A.D. and there are several missing parts. It's interesting to read this early attempt at pinning down what exactly makes a written work transcendent. One of my favorite lines: "..that Nature determined man to be no low or ignoble animal; but introducing us into life and this entire universe as...more
Hareton Linton
ახალი წლის III საუკენში კი ცხოვრობდა ფსევდო-ლონგინე (შემოქმედის სახელი დაკარგულად ითვლება), რომელიც განიხილავს ცეცილიუსის ამ ტრაქტატს.
ფსევდო-ლონგინეს თხზულების შინაგანი პათოსი კი სწორედ ამ კონცეფციის წინააღმდეგაა მიმართული. ლონგინე ამ საკითხს, მხატვრულ შემოქმედებასთან, უწინარეს ყოვლისა კი, პროზასთან მიმართებაში იკვლევს. მე შევეცდები განვაზოგადო და მთლიანად ხელოვნების ნებისმიერი ფორმის მიმართ გავაანალიზო მისი თხზულება.

ლონგინე მეორე თავშივე სვამს კითხვას: შეიძლება თუ არა ხელოვნებაში გაწაფვის გზით...more
"Moreover, the expression of the sublime is more exposed to danger when it goes its own way without the guidance of knowledge -- when it is suffered to be unstable and unballasted -- when it is left at the mercy of mere momentum and ignorant audacity. It is true that it often needs the spur, but it is also true that it often needs the curb."

Damn you, Longinus, for being so right 1800 years ago.
Oh, those clever Greeks. Longinus gets at a lot of the same discussions I have with my poetry friends: can you just be a natural? Is it better to be perfectly mediocre or flawed and genius? The one sorrow is that this treatise is neither completely attributable or completely complete. Curse you missing pages!
Talbot Hook
This was coupled with Aristotle's poetics, due to its complementary nature. It is more analysis on poetry and the sublime, slightly different than the former in that it discusses natural proclivities and skill. While I think it less thoughtful than the poetics, reading both together is a good idea.
I absolutely love this and definitely think it has a place in the classroom. Longinus begins with asserting that to achieve the sublime writers must begin with great ideas -- what a fantastic way to introduce the writing process to students (with language that is perhaps...not as elevated :])
Jyothy Sreedhar
The theory of sublimity in fact gives a preview of how to write, how to keep eloquence, how to be a good writer and how to connect to the elite audience.
Kevin Perrine
Good read. It contains many worthwhile tips for producing great writing, but it does get a little tedious wading through the ancient Greek examples.
some great passages on what makes good writing. Also, the ending has a wonderful passage about money as a false god. strangely current
Okej text om det sublima, det stora, men varför är det så svårt att komma med en bra definition. Jag föredrar nog Burke.
Nov 08, 2011 Raymund marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
If you liked Aristotle's Poetics, you will love this book!
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The Works of Dionysius Longinus, on the Sublime: Or, a Treatise Concerning the Sovereign Perfection of Writing. Translated from the Greek. with Some R Par cildeno Fragments. Art Rhetorique Dionysius Vel Longinus: de Sublimitate Libellus Longinus on the Sublime: The Greek Text Edited After the Paris Manuscript

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“Sublime natures are seldom clean!” 5 likes
“For our soul is raised out of nature through the truly sublime, sways with high spirits, and is filled with proud joy, as if itself had created what it hears.” 1 likes
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