What are the five principal sources of the sublime enumerated by Longinus?

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According to Longinus in his essay "On the Sublime," the sublime is a style of writing that arouses deep emotions and brings people to a higher moral plane. Sublime writing moves us beyond the ordinary and thus becomes great writing. It travels above and beyond the rational to lead us to a state awe. The writer of it himself must possess "moral excellence" in order to get to this higher plane.

Five sources of the sublime are the following:

  1. Great thoughts
  2. Noble diction (Diction is word choice)
  3. Powerful emotions
  4. A dignified arrangement or pattern of words
  5. Particular figures of speech

All of this should work together to lead the reader to place of ecstasy, a place beyond the ordinary, a place of wonder. We need to give ourselves up to the feeling such a piece of literature inspires in us without trying to rationally understand it.

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