LITERATURE: On The Sublime – The Elements

After the usual introduction as to establishing a purpose to this essay, in this case, in answer and expansion to a treatise by Caecilius, the author gets to the naming of those essential elements of what makes up the sublime in language.

In brief, there are five:  1. The power of forming great conceptions, meaning–and this is explained further on–the importance or loftiness of the idea or topic.  2. Vehement and inspired passion.  Longinus claims that these are innate, and the final three are result of art:  3. Formation of figures, that of thought and expression; 4. Noble diction, including metaphor, simile, and elaboration or use of language; and 5. Dignified and elevated composition, likely meaning how the theme is manipulated for presentation.  Underneath all, there a foundaton of great discourse.

Longinus does explain this further, and gives us examples from Homer and others.  I will attempt to give examples from McCarthy’s The Orchard Keeper to enhance both readings with the benefit of analysis.  Obviously, I’ve already and likely will find many more examples of point #4, in McCcarthy’s work.

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