What is false sublimity? Explain with reference to On the Sublime by Longinus.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In On the Sublime, after some initial remarks and before the presentation of the sources of genuine sublimity, Longinus describes the several pitfalls to which a writer is susceptible in striving for sublimity. The first species of the false sublime that Longinus distinguishes from true sublime is "bombast." This is extravagant swelling that results from elevating a thing beyond what is fit or natural for it or else by the use of overblown language.

The second kind of false sublime that Longinus describes is "puerility". Whereas bombast errs by elevating beyond the limits of the true sublime, puerility errs in the opposite way, being diametrically opposed to grandeur. According to Longinus, it is caused by a pedantic habit of mind that aims at refinement and precision...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 383 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team