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Spring, 2004, pages 71 - 89

Longinus's Sublime Rhetoric, or How Rhetoric Came into Its Own

Abstract: This essay argues that Peri Hypsous (On Height or On the Sublime, traditionally attributed to "Longinus") marks an important moment in the history of rhetoric, as rhetoric is presented therein as an autonomous, sublime object. Through notions of hypsos (height) and physis (nature), and an amalgamation of Ciceronian/Isocratean and Gorgianic notions of rhetoric, "Longinus" frees rhetoric from the project of legitimation. He makes it a marvel that needs no justification. rhetoric "comes into its own." Even as I account for the emergence of this conception of rhetoric in Peri Hypsous, I question its helpfulness for rhetorical studies.

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