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Sentimental novels

  • Novels from the 18th-19th centuries that emphasize distress of the virtuous and reward moral behavior and honor.

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  • Instance Of

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  • Form

    • Sentimental novels
  • Variants

    • Novels of sensibility
    • Novels of sentiment
    • Sensibility, Novels of
    • Sentiment, Novels of
    • Sentimental fiction
  • Broader Terms

  • Closely Matching Concepts from Other Schemes

  • Sources

    • found: Cuddon, J.A. A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory, 1998(sentimental novel. A form of fiction popular in 18th c. England. It concentrated on the distresses of the virtuous and attempted to show that a sense of honour and moral behaviour were justly rewarded. It also attempted to show that effusive emotion was evidence of kindness and goodness. In this period scores of sentimental novels were published and read avidly.)
    • found: Quinn, E. A dictionary of literary and thematic terms, c1999(sentimental novel. A type of novel popular in late 18th-century Europe. The aim of the sentimental novel, as described by the critic Janet Todd, was "the arousal of pathos through conventional situations, stock familiar characters, and rhetorical devices." In the hands of more accomplished writers, this excessive emotionalism was tempered with irony and humor; the "novel of sensibility," as it was known, had a powerful impact on European literature)
    • found: Baldick, C. The Oxford dictionary of literary terms, 2008(sentimental novel (also called novel of sentiment or novel of sensibility). An emotionally extravagant novel of a kind that became popular in Europe in the late 18th century; the sentimental novels of the 1760s and 1770s exhibit the close connections between virtue and sensibility, in repeatedly tearful scenes; a character's feeling for the beauties of nature and for the griefs of others is taken as a sign of a pure heart)
    • found: Cambridge history of English literature, 1660-1780, 2005:ch. 22 ("Sentimental fiction: ethics, social critique and philanthropy" by Thomas Keymer; the 1770s can be seen to mark the peak for sentimental fiction; but the style remained business as usual for other practitioners of the mode well into the nineteenth century)
  • General Notes

    • Novels from the 18th-19th centuries that emphasize distress of the virtuous and reward moral behavior and honor.
  • Change Notes

    • 2014-12-01: new
    • 2016-02-18: revised
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