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May 1, 2013

"Longinus" is the name given to the unknown literary critic/author who wrote On the Sublime an essay written around 100 CE that examines the work of more than 50 ancient authors. In the essay - of which only an extended fragment remains -  Longinus talks of the sublime as a state that reaches "beyond the realm of the human condition into greater mystery."  How do authors produce this state in themselves, in their work, in their readers? How do we know it when we see it? Longinus gives us his take on the topic.

Prof Edwin Conner presented a paper on Longinus at the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) Conference held recently in Ottawa. I talk to him here about Longinus's criteria for judging whether or not a work is sublime.