Sentimentalism

Article in Edited Volumes
(Article in a Manual)


Publication Details

Author(s): Gerund K, Paul H
Editor(s): Christine Gerhardt
Title edited volumes: Handbook of the American Novel of the Nineteenth Century
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Publishing place: Berlin/Munich/Boston
Publication year: 2018
Title of series: Handbooks of English and American Studies
Volume: 7
Pages range: 17-33
ISBN: 9783110480818
Language: English


Abstract

This essay delineates the conceptual underpinnings of sentimental fiction and reviews some of the most popular sentimental novels of the nineteenth century, including Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Maria S. Cummins’ The Lamplighter to outline the main features of the genre. Beyond conceiving sentimental writing simply as formula fiction, the essay considers sentimental texts as powerful interventions into social, cultural, and political discourses of the time with a particular focus on constructions of race, gender, domesticity, and women’s role in society. It identifies the “cultural work” (Tompkins) of sentimentalism in nineteenth-century American culture and fleshes out the ideological maneuvers it was enlisted for - the sentimental repertoire ranges from abolitionist slave narratives, such as Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, to fictionalized vindications of slavery, such as Caroline Lee Hentz’s The Planter’s Northern Bride. In the sentimental vein, social reform and political change have been advocated and refuted. Finally, this chapter surveys the scholarship on sentimental writing - from the initial dismissal of women’s domestic novels as trivial and sensationalist to its recuperation by feminist critics and its more recent re-evaluation in the wake of the so-called turn to affect. Sentimentalism continues to be relevant in American literature and (political) discourses and is not (and never has been) limited to women’s culture.


FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Gerund, Katharina Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Amerikanistik, insbesondere nordamerikanische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft
Paul, Heike Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Amerikanistik, insbesondere nordamerikanische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft


How to cite

APA:
Gerund, K., & Paul, H. (2018). Sentimentalism. In Christine Gerhardt (Eds.), Handbook of the American Novel of the Nineteenth Century. (pp. 17-33). Berlin/Munich/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH.

MLA:
Gerund, Katharina, and Heike Paul. "Sentimentalism." Handbook of the American Novel of the Nineteenth Century. Ed. Christine Gerhardt, Berlin/Munich/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2018. 17-33.

BibTeX: 

Last updated on 2019-01-01 at 09:10