E491 Longinus Questions

Assigned: from On Sublimity (135-55).

From On Sublimity (first century CE)

1. How does Longinus define sublimity? To what extent is sublimity dependent on language? (139)

2. What relationship does Longinus develop between genius and art or artistic skill? (139 top, 141, 153)

3. Why, according to Longinus, do we need sublimity and respond to it? How does this effect accord with human nature? (152)

4. Does Longinus discuss sublimity only in terms of the individual perceiver of art, or are his standards to be taken as communal and universally valid? (139-40)

5. What are Longinus' five sources of sublimity? Which is the most important, and why? What are the main distinctions Longinus makes amongst the five sources? (140)

6. What is "amplification," and what is the difference between amplification and sublimity? (143ff)

7. How does imitation of "great writers of the past" conduce to sublime effects? (143)

8. What comparisons and contrasts does Longinus make between rhetorical visualization and poetic visualization? (144-45)

9. How, according to Longinus, do figures help the artist achieve sublimity? What role does emotion play in this achievement? (146-50)

10. By what standards does Longinus say we should assess the literary productions of genius? In what sense, according to Longinus on 152, does the literary genius demonstrate something about human nature and human aspirations? (150-53)

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN: 0393974294.