Longinus, On the Sublime 12.4-5 : Demosthenes and Cicero

Author: de Jonge, Casper C. & Arjan A. Nijk
Title: Longinus, On the Sublime 12.4-5 : Demosthenes and Cicero
Review/Collection: Mnemosyne 72, no 5
Year edition: 2019
Pages: 766–790
Keywords: Héritage - Fortuna - Legacy, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: This article discusses the critical comparison (σύγκρισις) of the styles of Demosthenes and Cicero in Longinus, On the Sublime 12.4-5. Many readers have claimed that Longinus here presents Demosthenes and Cicero as two different models of the sublime. A detailed analysis of the passage, however, reveals that while the two are both credited with grandeur (µέγεθος), they are in fact not treated on a par with respect to sublimity (ὕψος). While the style of Demosthenes is described with keywords of Longinus’ conception of the sublime (ὕψος), Cicero’s style is consistently associated with the quality of diffusion (χύσις), which is closely associated with amplification (αὔξησις). Longinus’ discussion of Cicero may have pleased the Roman readers in his audience, as he is presented as a canonical author of ‘great’ literature. We argue, however, that in the end, Longinus reserves the status of sublimity for his heroes of classical Greece. [Author]
Author initials: de Jonge & Arjan 2019