1 Answer | Add Yours
Frigidity is a characteristic that Longinus sees as an enemy of sublime literature. Writers achieve frigidity when, while they "aim at the uncommon and elaborate and most of all at the attractive, they drift unawares into the tawdry and affected." In Section IV of this treatise, Longinus goes into great detail about Timaeus, who was a writer who, in the opinion of Longinus, is a great example of a writer whose work is characterised by frigidity. Timaeus goes as far as to take the examples of frigidity of other classical writers, such as Xenophon, and "clutches it as though it were hid treasure." This expression is based on the following description of Timaeus:
Who could have done this had he not had wantons, in place of maidens, in his eyes?
Longinus argues this is a perfect example of frigidity because it states that the eyes are the only way of discerning whether or not an individual is good. In the view of Longinus, such description descends into the banal, and is viewed as an "unseemly exhibition of trviality." Fridigity then occurs when authors try too hard to achieve sublimity and stray unawares into descriptions that create nothing more than banality or ridiculous descriptions rather than the elevating impact that sublime texts should achieve.
We’ve answered 319,198 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question