George Saintsbury (essay date 1900)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, Lucian, Longinus," in A History of Criticism and Literary Taste in Europe: From the Earliest Texts to the Present Day, William Blackwood and Sons, 1900, pp. 152-72.

[In the following excerpt, Saintsbury discusses elements of the sublime and comments on Longinus's literary and historico-critical importance.]

… It does not fall within the plan of this work to examine at any length the recently much-debated question whether the treatise Peri Hypsos is, as after its first publication by Robortello in 1554 it was for nearly three centuries unquestioningly taken to be, the work of the rhetorician Longinus, who was Queen...

(The entire section is 8346 words.)

W. Rhys Roberts (essay date 1928)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Longinus on the Sublime: Some Historical and Literary Problems," in Philological Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 3, July, 1928, pp. 209-19.

[In the following essay, Roberts uses linguistic evidence to argue that, contrary to the claims of many scholars, De Sublimitate was written in the first rather than the third century A.D.]

As long ago as the year 1899 the Cambridge University Press published for me an edition of "Longinus."1 At the moment I am correcting the proof-sheets of a small volume on Greek Rhetoric and Literary Criticism for an American Series. It would be a great help if you would allow me to confer with you on some of the many problems...

(The entire section is 4438 words.)

J. W. H. Atkins (essay date 1934)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The New Critical Outlook and Methods: 'Longinus'," in Literary Criticism in Antiquity: A Sketch of Its Development, Peter Smith, 1961, pp. 210-53.

[In the essay that follows, originally written in 1934, Atkins considers the question of the authorship of On the Sublime and its immediate instructive purpose, evaluating its achievement in terms of its "definite and practical effort to grapple with those excesses of style which were notoriously prevalent among first-century orators and writers."]

With the revived interest in critical matters which had become evident during the latter half of the first century A.D., yet another and an important work must...

(The entire section is 16937 words.)

Samuel H. Monk (essay date 1935)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Longinus and the Longinian Tradition in England," in The Sublime: A Study of Critical Theories in XVIII-Century England, The University of Michigan Press, 1960, pp. 10-28.

[In this essay, originally written in 1935, Monk discusses the rhetorical style and aesthetic claims of On the Sublime and briefly discusses its influence on the writings of eighteenth-century English authors.]

Any historical discussion of the sublime must take into account the fountain-head of all ideas on that subject—the pseudo-Longinian treatise, Peri Hupsous, known for over two centuries as Longinus, On the Sublime. In a sense, the study of the eighteenth-century...

(The entire section is 8685 words.)

Elder Olson (essay date 1942)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Argument of Longinus on the Sublime," in Modern Philology, Vol. XXXIX, No. 3, February, 1942, pp. 225-58.

[In this essay, Olson analyzes the structures of the various arguments that lead up to On the Sublime's conclusions and, from this, concludes that Longinus intended sublimity to be bound up with the communication of spiritual nobility rather than with mere stylistic manipulation.]

The brief and fragmentary treatise [Peri Hypsous] presents the spectacle, not too uncommon in literature, of a major critical document which has gained assent—in this case almost universal assent—to its statements while the arguments which developed and...

(The entire section is 13677 words.)

Paul H. Fry (essay date 1983)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: "Longinus at Colonus: The Grounding of Sublimity," in The Reach of Criticism: Method and Perception in Literary Theory, Yale University Press, 1983, pp. 47-80.

[Below, Fry uses Sophocles's Oedipus as a touchstone to compare Longinus and Aristotle. He concludes that the former discards fundamental distinctionse.g., language and spirit—that are fundamental and problematic in the Poetics of the latter.]

The capacity to be able to act theoretically is defined for us by the fact that in attending to something it is possible to forget one's own purposes.… Theoria is a true sharing, not something active, but something passive...

(The entire section is 21590 words.)