It is not sure that Longinus has given the theory of sublimity yet conventionally it is referred to his name. It is a literary criticism dated to first century. It is work upon aesthetics and Longinus has tried to guide us to sublimity. It is written in epistolary form. The final part of this treatise is missing which possibly deals with public speaking. The sublime theory is guided through five principle sources which are mentioned below.
- Grandeur of thought- it is the greatness of thought that great literatures are produced. All the great literary works have been conceived through greatness of thought which is the ultimate power of creation. Whatever we create is actually conceived in our mind through the process of thinking.
- Strong and inspired emotion- it is only through genuine emotion and passion great works can be created. The loftiness of tone in writing comes from genuine passion. Although much has not been written on this point by the author but it is clear that without inspired and genuine emotion or passion nothing can be created which we can call great.
- The use of certain figures of thought and speech- it is the third source which conveys a message that excellence can be attained by the use of figures. It is a quality which can be acquired through proper training. There should not be any mechanical use of figures. They must express genuine and proper emotion. Longinus use of figures reflects the ideology that it must add distinction to style.
- Noble diction- it is only through proper selection of words that greatness of any writing can be achieved. Diction means good choice of words. Any author must select proper words on proper occasion of writing. There should be a perfect blending of words and situation.
- Elevated, elaborate and dignified composition- it is essential for getting proper rhythm in writing. We must not confuse diction with dignified composition. both of them are closely associated but diction is the choice of words whereas composition is arrangement of words which can generate proper rhythm in any literature.
Thus we can say that all the five sources of the sublimity theory must be applied in any form of writing because these principles are basic in nature which cannot be ignored.