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from the sublime to the ridiculous

Fig. from something fine and uplifting to something ridiculous or mundane. After Mr. Jones had introduced my wife to his wife, he jokingly turned to introduce me and said, "From the sublime to the ridiculous." After the opera singer finished, the master of ceremonies introduced the comic juggler saying, "From the sublime to the ridiculous...."
See also: ridiculous, sublime

From the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step.

Prov. Something grand can easily become very funny. Bob, I don't think you should include a bowl of breakfast cereal in your still-life painting. From the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step. The production of Macbeth went from the sublime to the ridiculous when Lady Macbeth came onstage in an old army uniform.
See also: ridiculous, step, sublime

from the sublime to the ridiculous

From the beautiful to the silly, from great to puny. For example, They played first Bach and then an ad jingle-from the sublime to the ridiculous. The reverse, from the ridiculous to the sublime, is used with the opposite meaning. Coined by Tom Paine in The Age of Reason (1794), in which he said the two are so closely related that it is but one step from one to the other, the phrase has been often repeated in either order.
See also: ridiculous, sublime
References in periodicals archive ?
A similar explosion of interest in the sublime can be found in eighteenth-century pre-romantic Britain (see the reader edited by Ashfield and de Bolla, Hipple, Monk).
For instance, in Pseudo-Longinos' theory, the sublime has distinct moral implications because it is strongly associated with a kind of normative psychology.
The history of the sublime, as the history of many crucial notions for the humanities, may be seen and understood as a history of misreadings of the past (Nycz 3).
The almost two-thousand-year-old world history of the sublime is then full of insinuations, ambiguities, and sudden pauses.
Lamb's formulation of the sublime belongs, of course, to that broad shift in the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries that saw the displacement of sublimity away from the materiality of the external object, and its relocation in the self-conscious interiority of the subject.
It was Kant who described Burke's sublime in the Enquiry as a "merely empirical exposition" of the affective states of the subject, as a "physiological" and "psychological" discourse standing in stark contrast to his own "transcendental" deduction of the formal conditions of aesthetic judggment.
For de Luca, the Blakean sublime is roundly Kantian in its elevation of mental over material determination, of intellectual power over corporeal understanding.
In this novel, the infinite expansion of meaning inherent in the sublime reaches the point of utter meaninglessness, since the solemnity of Pym's sublime experiences is undermined by the parodic elements of Poe's text.
Burke by his reasoning, anywhere looked to positive horror as a source of the sublime, though they all agree that terror is a very high one.
As Radcliffe suggests, Burke's conception of the sublime, put forward in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757), lies at the basis for her distinction:
Baillie, like Schimmelpenninck, defines the sublime as a process unfolding in stages.
In this reading, Mellor like Brigham effaces the role of terror altogether, turning from the bracing strength of the sublime to the comforting softness of the beautiful, which she then relabels "the feminine sublime.
Schimmelpenninck draws an evaluative distinction between the sudden shifts of the terrible sublime and the smooth calm of the contemplative sublime, suggesting that the latter evolves out of the former as a more sophisticated aesthetic stage.
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