'I will not weep': Reading through the Tears of Henry Mackenzie's 'Man of Feeling'

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Abstract

This article investigates tears of sympathy as part of a sentimental reading practice in the eighteenth century, and describes how Henry Mackenzie's novel The Man of Feeling self-consciously enacts the reader's education via sympathetic emotional response. Mackenzie's novel is interpreted in the context of the literature and moral-sense philosophy of eighteenth-century sensibility and sentimentalism. The 'man of feeling' consists in an always shifting perspective; it is an emotional lens, a technique of reading, rather than a clearly defined character type. The article also addresses the question of interpersonal relations and intersubjectivity as a common concern for sensibility and psychoanalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-968
Number of pages17
JournalModern Language Review
Volume103
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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