Stanford University Press (1996)

Abstract
This book contends that when late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writers sought to explain the origins of emotions, they often discovered that their feelings may not really have been their own. It explores the paradoxes of representing feelings in philosophy, aesthetic theory, gender ideology, literature, and popular sentimentality, and it argues that this period's obsession with sentimental, wayward emotion was inseparable from the dilemmas resulting from attempts to locate the origins of feelings in experience. The book shows how these epistemological dilemmas became gendered by studying a series of extravagantly affective scenes in works by Hume, Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, and Jane Austen. Making its argument through a provocative conjunction of texts that range across genres and genders and across the divide between the eighteenth century and Romanticism, Strange Fits of Passion rediscovers the relationship of empiricism to the culture of sentimentality, and the significance of emotion to Romanticism.
Keywords English literature History and criticism  Emotions in literature  English literature History and criticism  Emotions (Philosophy History  Literature Psychology
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Call number PR448.E46.P56 1996
ISBN(s) 9780804725484   0804736561   0804725489
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