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Between Ecstasy and TruthInterpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus$
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Stephen Halliwell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570560.001.0001

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The Mind's Infinity: Longinus and the Psychology of the Sublime

The Mind's Infinity: Longinus and the Psychology of the Sublime

(p.327) 7 The Mind's Infinity: Longinus and the Psychology of the Sublime
Between Ecstasy and Truth

Stephen Halliwell

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the treatise On the Sublime combines ecstasy (the ‘thunderbolt’ impact of the sublime) with truth (an expansion of the mind's grasp of reality) into a distinctive paradigm of the creative power of language. The sublime has a basis of intersubjectivity in the transformative echoes of ‘great thought’ communicated between author and audience; it also generates a surplus of meaning for renewed contemplation. What counts as the truth of the sublime is carefully explicated: it emerges not as a matter of particular propositional beliefs but an amalgam of intuition, emotion, and metaphysics. The sublime is ultimately an experience of the mind's own infinity, its capacity to transcend even the boundaries of the cosmos in a heightened awareness of the processes of thought and feeling.

Keywords:   ecstasy, emotion, infinity, intersubjectivity, intuition, meaning, metaphysics, sublime, thought, truth

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