By Laurence Lerner
What's the distinction among private and non-private feeling, and the way some distance do we deduce earlier emotions from the phrases which were left us? Why do baby deaths determine so usually and so prominently within the literature of the 19th century, and the way used to be the topic of the loss of life of a kid used to elicit such poignant responses within the readers of that period? during this interesting new ebook, Laurence Lerner vividly contrasts the contempt with which 20th- century feedback so usually dismisses such works as mere sentimentality with the passion and tears of nineteenth-century contemporaries.Drawing examples from either genuine and literary deaths, Lerner delves into the writings of recognized authors equivalent to Dickens, Coleridge, Shelley, Flaubert, Mann, Huxley, and Hesse, in addition to lesser recognized writers like Felicia Hemans and Lydia Sigourney. within the method, he synthesizes clean rules in regards to the thorny topics of sentimentality, aesthetic judgment, and the functionality of faith in literature.Lerner's forthright and evocative prose sort is agreeable examining, and he excels in teasing out the ethical implications and the psychosocial entanglements of his selected narrative and lyrical texts. this can be a publication that may remove darkness from a major element of the background of personal lifestyles. it's going to have huge program for these attracted to the heritage, sociology, and literature of the 19th century.
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Additional info for Angels and absences: child deaths in the nineteenth century
History is not fiction, but writing fiction and writing of what actually happened have a great deal in common, and this material therefore confronts us with important questions about the way grief is represented in words: what is the difference between public and private feeling, and how far can we deduce past feelings from the words that have been left us? Beginning with actual deaths should prepare us for asking what is fictitious about fiction. The second chapter looks at poems about the death of children, studying them primarily as strategies of consolation, and discusses the theology and psychology of dealing with grief.
ChildrenGreat BritainMortality- -History19th century. 4. American literature19th century- -History and criticism. 5. Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870Characters- -Children. 6. ChildrenDeathPsychological aspects. 7. Sentimentalism in literature. 8. Children in literature. I. Title. 9'3548'09034dc2197-4572 CIP Manufactured in the United States of America Page v to Wayne Booth Page vii Contents List of Illustrations ix Preface xi 1 Real Deaths 1 2 Strategies of Consolation: The Dead Child in Poetry 40 3 The Life and Death of Paul Dombey, and Other Child Deaths in Dickens 82 4 Heaven Claims Its Own: Child Deaths in Nineteenth Century Fictionand After 126 5 Sentimentality: For and Against 174 Conclusion 213 Notes 223 Bibliography 239 Index 249 Page ix List of Illustrations (following page 113) 1.
Should we see it as the expression of a histrionic and shallow character, or an example of the inherent difficulty of relating behaviour to emotion? If we cannot believe the newspapers about the Prince Regent, why, it seems natural to ask, should we believe them about Leopold? The cynical answer is that we know less about Leopold and therefore have less reason to question them; but there are other reasons: that the motive to cover up is much less powerful in his case, since he was not the sovereign (as the Prince was in fact and would soon be in name); that the much fuller descriptions of his behaviour have not the blandness of the lies about the Prince Regent; and also that since he was a foreigner the press might feel less need to conform him to a stereotype, might even feel some satisfaction in reporting his slightly un-English feelings.