Sacred Tears: Sentimentality in Victorian Literature
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The Description for this book, Sacred Tears: Sentimentality in Victorian Literature, will be forthcoming.
humankind. Though Primrose, like Parson Adams, has his human imperfections, they are the source of comedy rather than satire, and The Vicar of Wakefield depends, as does Joseph Andrews, on the resolutions of comedy in which no expression of the moral sentiments can be too strong or too frequent. Even the occasional parodying of the language of popular sentimentality is gently put to the service of affirming the moral sentiments. Goldsmith, like Dickens, Thackeray, and Carlyle, was alert to the
In his response to David Masson’s review, “Pendennis and Copperjield: Thackeray and Dickens,” Thackeray expressed his “quarrel with Mr. Dickens’s art” which I don’t think represents Nature duly; for instance Micawber appears to me an exaggeration of a man, as his name is of a name. It is delightful and makes me laugh; but it is no more a real man than my friend Punch is: and in so far I protest against him … holding that the Art of Novels is to represent Nature: to convey as strongly as
sentiment frequently masquerades as sincere feeling in a meretricious combination of affectation, selfishness, and feigned nostalgia. They talked about the days of their youth, and Blanche was prettily sentimental. They talked about Laura, dearest Laura.… Blanche had loved her as a sister: was she happy with old Lady Rockminster? Wouldn’t she come and stay with them at Tunbridge Wells? Oh, what walks they would take together! What songs they would sing—the old, old songs. Laura’s voice was
carriage to steal a leg of mutton; but put him to starve, and see if he will not purloin the load. Becky consoled herself by so balancing the changes and equalizing the distribution of good and evil in the world. (VF, chap. 41) But that it is not only a question of money Thackeray states clearly throughout Vanity Fair. When poor, Amelia retains her goodness. When relatively prosperous, Becky acts badly. Her behavior is not criminal, however, but immoral, and Thackeray provides the contrast
Lewis, 38 Clough, Arthur Hugh, 52 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 33, 42, 134 Collins, Wilkie, 58, 60, 72; Woman in White, 58 Cromwell, Oliver, 126 Dante, 135, 138 Defoe, Daniel, 21–26; Moll Flanders, 23–24 Dickens, Charles, 3, 4, 7–8, 10–11, 20–23, 29, 32, 34–56, 58–76, 80–81, 83–85, 87–88, 90–93, 95 102, 105, 109, 116–117, 121, 125, 128, 131, 132, 134, 135, 136, 138, 142, 143. Characters: Blackpool, Stephen, 65; Boffin, Nicodemus, 3, 55–57, 59; Brownlow, 54, 128; Carker, 63, 68; Carton,