sentimental novel

sentimental novel

      broadly, any novel that exploits the reader's capacity for tenderness, compassion, or sympathy to a disproportionate degree by presenting a beclouded or unrealistic view of its subject. In a restricted sense the term refers to a widespread European novelistic development of the 18th century, which arose partly in reaction to the austerity and rationalism of the Neoclassical period. The sentimental novel exalted feeling above reason and raised the analysis of emotion to a fine art. An early example in France is Antoine-François Prévost's Manon Lescaut (1731), the story of a courtesan for whom a young seminary student of noble birth forsakes his career, family, and religion and ends as a card shark and confidence man. His downward progress, if not actually excused, is portrayed as a sacrifice to love.

      The assumptions underlying the sentimental novel were Jean-Jacques Rousseau's (Rousseau, Jean-Jacques) doctrine of the natural goodness of man and his belief that moral development was fostered by experiencing powerful sympathies. In England, Samuel Richardson's sentimental novel Pamela (1740) was recommended by clergymen as a means of educating the heart. In the 1760s the sentimental novel developed into the “novel of sensibility,” which presented characters possessing a pronounced susceptibility to delicate sensation. Such characters were not only deeply moved by sympathy for their fellow man but also reacted emotionally to the beauty inherent in natural settings and works of art and music. The prototype was Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759–67), which devotes several pages to describing Uncle Toby's horror of killing a fly. The literature of Romanticism adopted many elements of the novel of sensibility, including responsiveness to nature and belief in the wisdom of the heart and in the power of sympathy. It did not, however, assimilate the novel of sensibility's characteristic optimism.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sentimental novel — The sentimental novel or the novel of sensibility is an 18th century literary genre which celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility. Sentimentalism, which is to be distinguished from… …   Wikipedia

  • Sentimental poetry — is a melodramatic poetic form. It is aimed primarily at stimulating the emotions rather than at communicating experience truthfully. Bereavement is a common theme of sentimental poetry. Friedrich Schiller discussed sentimental poetry in his… …   Wikipedia

  • novel — novel1 novellike, adj. /nov euhl/, n. 1. a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes. 2. (formerly) novella (def. 1). [1560 70; <… …   Universalium

  • novel — Synonyms and related words: Bildungsroman, Gothic novel, authentic, avant garde, bauble, best seller, bibelot, blockbuster, book, bound book, classic, coloring book, comic novel, creative, curio, definitive work, detective novel, different, dime… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • Sentimental Journey — may refer to:*Sentimental Journey (song), 1945 song by the Les Brown orchestra with Doris Day as vocalist *Sentimental Journey (1970 album), a 1970 album by Ringo Starr *Sentimental Journey (Rosemary Clooney album), a 2001 album by Rosemary… …   Wikipedia

  • Sentimental Education (disambiguation) — Sentimental Education can refer to:* Sentimental Education , a novel by Gustave Flaubert * Sentimental Education (album), an album by New Zealand rock group Sneaky Feelings * Sentimental Education (Free Kitten album), an album by American rock… …   Wikipedia

  • Sentimental Education — Infobox Book | name = Sentimental Education title orig = L Education sentimentale translator = image caption = Title page from the first edition of L Education sentimentale author = Gustav Flaubert illustrator = cover artist = country = France… …   Wikipedia

  • Novel — For other uses, see Novel (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Novell. New novels in a Oldenburg bookshop, February 2009 …   Wikipedia

  • Sentimental Swordsman — Infobox Film name = Sentimental Swordsman image size = caption = director = Chor Yuen producer = Run Run Shaw writer = Gu Long (original novel) narrator = starring = Ti Lung Derek Yi Ching Li Yueh Hua Fan Mei Sheng Ku Feng music = cinematography …   Wikipedia

  • Amelia (novel) — Title page of Amelia Amelia is a sentimental novel written by Henry Fielding a …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.