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Dickens and the Sentimental Tradition
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Book description

‘Dickens and the Sentimental Tradition’ is a timely study of the ‘sentimental’ in Dickens’s novels, which places them in the context of the tradition of Fielding, Richardson, Sterne, Goldsmith, Sheridan and Lamb. This study re-evaluates Dickens’s presentation of emotion – first within the eighteenth-century tradition and then within the dissimilar nineteenth-century tradition – as part of a complex literary heritage that enables him to critique nineteenth-century society. The book sheds light on the construction of feelings and of the ‘good heart’, ideas which resonate with current critical debates about literary ‘affect’. Sentimentalism, as the text demonstrates, is crucial to understanding fully the achievement of Dickens and his contemporaries.

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