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    Burdett, Carolyn (2013) Emotions. In: John, J. (ed.) The Victorian Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199593736.

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    The Victorians were clear that emotions matter in relation to literature and art. This chapter examines that conviction in relation to debates about sentiment and sentimentalism during the period. The moral value of emotional responses to literature was contested, with opponents of sentimentalism worried that far from being a moral good, sentiment was at best self-indulgent and at worst dangerous—especially for groups considered less likely to control their emotions. The essay then turns to assess the impact of scientific and psychological theories of emotion in the latter half of the century, arguing that new ways of understanding emotion often retained elements of more traditional views. These include both issues of emotional authenticity and models of hierarchy whereby emotions must be controlled by reason and intellect. As evolutionary thinking collapsed distance between humans and other creatures, the value of aesthetic emotion was intensively debated and contested.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): emotion, sentimentalism, aesthetics, moral value, sympathy, empathy, science, psychology
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Nineteenth-Century Studies, Centre for
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2014 12:40
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:34


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