Home » Archive » philologr: poignancy, sublime, prosaic

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

poignancy (of poignant) — poign·ant (poin’yÉ™nt) — an adjective describing something profoundly moving; piercing; incisive; agreeably intense .

sublime — sub·lime (sÉ™-blÄ«m’) — an adjective describing something characterized by nobility; majestic; of high spiritual, moral, or intellectual worth.

prosaic — pro·sa·ic (prō-zā’Ä­k) — an adjective describing something matter-of-fact; straightforward; lacking in imagination and spirit; dull.

By George Santayana in Sense of Beauty: Being the outline of aesthetic theory:

Sensuous beauty is not the greatest or most important element of effect, but it is the most primitive and fundamental, and the most universal. There is no effect of form which an effect of material could not enhance, and this effect of material, underlying that of form, raise the latter to a higher power and gives the beauty of the object a certain poignancy, thoroughness, and infinity with it otherwise would have lacked. The Parthenon not in marble, the king’s crown not of gold, and the stars not of fire, would be feeble and prosaic things. The greater hold which material beauty has upon the senses, stimulates us here, where form is also sublime, and lifts and intensifies our emotions. We need this stimulus if our perceptions are to reach the highest pitch of strength and acuteness. Nothing can be ravishing that is not beautiful pervasively.

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