Sublime (1247 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • Monika Fludernik (Universität Freiburg)


The sublime is one of the key concepts in eighteenth-century and Romantic aesthetics. The term derives from the anonymous treatise Peri hypsous, long thought to have been composed by Longinus, in which rhetorical effects of the sublime are described in detail. The English and French lexeme sublime also has its roots in the rhetorical tradition, in the distinction of stilus sublimus versus stilus humilis. In neoclassical poetics this influential distinction between a ‘high style’ for tragedy and a ‘low style’ for comedy may have fed into the choice of vocabulary for the seventeenth-century translations of Pseudo-Longinus into French (trans. Boileau, 1674) and English (trans. John Hall, 1652). Following …

Fludernik, Monika. "Sublime". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2001
[, accessed 20 October 2016.]