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“Oh! my children, my children,” he cried, “have I found you thus? My poor Jack, art thou gone? I thought thou shouldst have carried thy father’s grey hairs.

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Presentation on theme: "“Oh! my children, my children,” he cried, “have I found you thus? My poor Jack, art thou gone? I thought thou shouldst have carried thy father’s grey hairs."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Oh! my children, my children,” he cried, “have I found you thus? My poor Jack, art thou gone? I thought thou shouldst have carried thy father’s grey hairs to the grave! and these little ones” - his tears choked his utterance, and he fell again on the necks of the children. “My dear old man,” said Harley, “Providence has sent you to relieve them; it will bless me if I can be the means of assisting you.” “Yes, indeed, sir,” answered the boy; “father, when he was a-dying, bade God bless us, and prayed that if grandfather lived he might send him to support us.” “Where did they lay my boy?” said Edwards. “In the Old Churchyard,” replied the woman, “hard by his mother.” “I will show it you,” answered the boy, “for I have wept over it many a time when first I came amongst strange folks.” He took the old man’s hand, Harley laid hold of his sister’s, and they walked in silence to the churchyard. There was an old stone, with the corner broken off, and some letters, half-covered with moss, to denote the names of the dead: there was a cyphered R. E. plainer than the rest; it was the tomb they sought.

2 “Here it is, grandfather,” said the boy. Edwards gazed upon it without uttering a word: the girl, who had only sighed before, now wept outright; her brother sobbed, but he stifled his sobbing. “I have told sister,” said he, “that she should not take it so to heart; she can knit already, and I shall soon be able to dig, we shall not starve, sister, indeed we shall not, nor shall grandfather neither.” The girl cried afresh; Harley kissed off her tears as they flowed, and wept between every kiss. (Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling, 1771)

3 Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe (1771)

4 John Earlom (after George Romney), Sensibility. A Portrait of Emma Hart (1789)

5 Defining sensibility Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1755): 1. Quickness of sensation. 2. Quickness of perception.

6 Defining sensibility Encyclopaedia Britannica (3 rd edn, 1797): a nice and delicate perception of pleasure or pain, beauty or deformity. It is very nearly allied to taste; and, as far as it is natural, seems to depend upon the organization of the nervous system. It is capable, however, of cultivation, and is experienced in a much higher degree in civilized than in savage nations, and among persons liberally educated than among boors and illiterate mechanics.

7 Philosophy and sensibility 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristics (1711) No sooner are actions viewed, no sooner the human affections and passions discerned (and they are most of them as soon discerned as felt) than straight an inward eye distinguishes and sees the fair and shapely, the amiable and admirable, apart from the deformed, the foul, the odious, or the despicable. How is it possible, therefore, not to own that as these distinctions have their foundation in nature, the discernment itself is natural and from nature alone?

8 Philosophy and sensibility Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) That there may be some correspondence of sentiments between the spectator and the person principally concerned, the spectator must, first of all, endeavour, as much as he can, to put himself in the situation of the other, and to bring home to himself every little circumstance of distress which can possibly occur to the sufferer. He must adopt the whole case of his companion with all its minutest incidents; and strive to render as perfect as possible, that imaginary change of situation upon which his sympathy is founded.

9 The Cult of Sensibility Time Mid-eighteenth century, esp. 1740s to 1760s. Archetypal victims/heroes: The chaste suffering women The benevolent, emotionally-sensitive. Man. Stock Vocabulary Benevolence, virtue, esteem, delicacy, transport, kind, honest, tender, fond, melting, swelling, overflowing.

10 The Cult of Sensibility Novel Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (1768) Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (1771) Poetry Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1743-5) Thomas Gray, ‘An Elegy Written on a Country Churchyard’ (1783) Drama Richard Steele, The Conscious Lovers (1722) Edward Moore, The Gamester (1753)

11 The Attack on Sensibility Detail of James Gillray, New Morality (1798), showing the figure of Sensibility.

12 The Attack on Sensibility Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) […] all your pretty flights arise from your pampered sensibility; and that, vain of this fancied preeminence of organs, you foster every emotion till the fumes, mounting to your brain, dispel the sober suggestions of reason. It is not in this view surprising, that when you should argue you become impassioned, and that reflection inflames your imagination, instead of enlightening your understanding. Quitting now the flowers of rhetoric, let us, Sir, reason together; and, believe me, I should not have meddled with these troubled waters, in order to point out your inconsistencies, if your wit had not burnished up some rusty, baneful opinions, and swelled the shallow current of ridicule till it resembled the flow of reason, and presumed to be the test of truth.

13 The Attack on Sensibility Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791) As to the tragic paintings by which Mr. Burke has outraged his own imagination, and seeks to work upon that of his readers, they are very well calculated for theatrical representation, where facts are manufactured for the sake of show, and accommodated to produce, through the weakness of sympathy, a weeping effect.

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15 His stay in the country was short; his manners did not entirely please me; but, when he left us, the colouring of my picture became more vivid—Whither did not my imagination lead me? In short, I fancied myself in love—in love with the disinterestedness, fortitude, generosity, dignity, and humanity, with which I had invested the hero I dubbed. (p. 130) What a revolution took place, not only in my train of thoughts, but feelings! I trembled with emotion—now, indeed, I was in love. Such delicacy too, to enhance his benevolence! I felt in my pocket every five minutes, only to feel the guinea; and its magic touch invested my hero with more than mortal beauty. My fancy had found a basis to erect its model of perfection on; and quickly went to work, with all the happy credulity of youth, to consider that heart as devoted to virtue, which had only obeyed a virtuous impulse. (p. 135)

16 Divorced by her husband—Her lover unfaithful—Pregnancy— Miscarriage—Suicide. (p. 202)

17 She read them over and over again; and fancy, treacherous fancy, began to sketch a character, congenial with her own, from these shadowy outlines […] What a creative power has an affectionate heart! There are beings who cannot live without loving, as poets love; and who feel the electric spark of genius, wherever it awakens sentiment or grace. (p. 86) His steady, bold step, and the whole air of his person, bursting as it were from a cloud, pleased her, and gave an outline to the imagination to sketch the individual form she wished to recognize. (p. 89)

18 [H]ow difficult it was for women to avoid growing romantic, who have no active duties or pursuits. (p. 87)

19 [S]he was too much under the influence of an ardent imagination to adhere to common rules […] A magic lamp now seemed to be suspended in Maria's prison, and fairy landscapes flitted round the gloomy walls, late so blank. Rushing from the depth of despair, on the seraph wing of hope, she found herself happy.— She was beloved, and every emotion was rapturous. (p. 99)

20 ‘But Darnford!’—exclaimed Maria, mournfully—sitting down again, and crossing her arms—’I have no child to go to, and liberty has lost its sweets.’ (p. 189)

21 A new vision swam before her. Jemima seemed to enter—leading a little creature, that, with tottering footsteps, approached the bed. The voice of Jemima sounding as at a distance, called her— she tried to listen, to speak, to look! 'Behold your child!' exclaimed Jemima. Maria started off the bed, and fainted.—Violent vomiting followed. (p. 203)

22 A sense of right seems to result from the simplest act of reason, and to preside over the faculties of the mind, like the master- sense of feeling, to rectify the rest; but (for the comparison may be carried still farther) how often is the exquisite sensibility of both weakened or destroyed by the vulgar occupations, and ignoble pleasures of life? (p. 80)

23 [W]hen told that her child, only four months old, had been torn from her, even while she was discharging the tenderest maternal office, the woman awoke in a bosom long estranged from feminine emotions, and Jemima determined to alleviate all in her power, without hazarding the loss of her place, the sufferings of a wretched mother, apparently injured, and certainly unhappy’ (p. 80)

24 Defining Sense Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1755): 1.Faculty or power by which external objects are perceived. 2.Perception by the senses; sensation. 3.Perception by intellect; apprehension of mind. 4.Sensibility; quickness or keenness of perception. 5.Understanding; soundness of faculties. 6.Reason; reasonable meaning. 7.Opinion; notion; judgement. 8.Consciousness; conviction. 9.Moral perception. 10.Meaning; import.

25 Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984).

26 They found it increasingly difficult to acknowledge or to integrate into their self perceptions desires that did not support this stereotype. And, by the same token, they found it increasingly difficult to recognize that the stereotype was prescription, not description, and thus to renounce it. But all kinds of writing by women of this period suggest that, even though women may not consciously have acknowledged their own impermissible desires, energies not sanctioned by propriety did exist. (Poovey, The Proper Lady, p. 15)

27 Men, some to Bus'ness, some to Pleasure take; But ev'ry Woman is at heart a Rake […] (Alexander Pope, ‘An Epistle to a Lady’, 1743)

28 The very translation of sexual control into “duty” is perfectly in keeping with the tenets of individualism: a woman’s social contribution was, in essence, self-control, just as her primary antagonist was herself. (Poovey, The Proper Lady, p. 27)

29 The object of the work is to represent the effects on the conduct of life, of discreet quiet good sense on the one hand, and an overrefined and excessive susceptibility on the other. The characters are happily delineated and admirably sustained. Two sisters are placed before the reader, similarly circumstanced in point of education and accomplishments, exposed to similar trials, but the one by a sober exertion of prudence and judgment sustains with fortitude, and overcomes with success, what plunges the other into an abyss of vexation, sorrow, and disappointment […] We will, however, detain our female friends no longer than to assure them, that they may peruse these volumes not only with satisfaction but with real benefits, for they may learn from them, if they please, many sober and salutary maxims for the conduct of life, exemplified in a very pleasing and entertaining narrative. (Review of Sense and Sensibility in the British Critic, May 1812)

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31 Patrilineal system: The system by which money/property descends through the male line. The right of primogeniture: The right of the first born son to succeed/inherit.

32 The old gentleman died: his will was read, and like almost every other will, gave as much disappointment as pleasure. He was neither so unjust, nor so ungrateful, as to leave his estate from his nephew;—but he left it to him on such terms as destroyed half the value of the bequest. Mr. Dashwood had wished for it more for the sake of his wife and daughters than for himself or his son;—but to his son, and his son's son, a child of four years old, it was secured, in such a way, as to leave to himself no power of providing for those who were most dear to him, and who most needed a provision by any charge on the estate, or by any sale of its valuable woods. (p. 4)

33 Yes; and the set of breakfast china is twice as handsome as what belongs to this house. A great deal too handsome, in my opinion, for any place they can ever afford to live in. But, however, so it is. Your father thought only of them. And I must say this: that you owe no particular gratitude to him, nor attention to his wishes; for we very well know that if he could, he would have left almost everything in the world to them. (p. 11)

34 Map of the Counties of England, c

35 Well, it is the oddest thing to me, that a man should use such a pretty girl so ill! But when there is plenty of money on one side, and next to none on the other, Lord bless you! they care no more about such things! (p. 144)

36 At seventeen she was lost to me for ever. She was married—married against her inclination to my brother. Her fortune was large, and our family estate much encumbered. And this, I fear, is all that can be said for the conduct of one, who was at once her uncle and guardian. (p. 153)

37 My brother had no regard for her; his pleasures were not what they ought to have been, and from the first he treated her unkindly. The consequence of this, upon a mind so young, so lively, so inexperienced as Mrs. Brandon's, was but too natural. She resigned herself at first to all the misery of her situation; and happy had it been if she had not lived to overcome those regrets which the remembrance of me occasioned. But can we wonder that, with such a husband to provoke inconstancy, and without a friend to advise or restrain her (for my father lived only a few months after their marriage, and I was with my regiment in the East Indies) she should fall? (p. 154)

38 I could not trace her beyond her first seducer, and there was every reason to fear that she had removed from him only to sink deeper in a life of sin. Her legal allowance was not adequate to her fortune, nor sufficient for her comfortable maintenance. (pp )

39 So altered—so faded—worn down by acute suffering of every kind! hardly could I believe the melancholy and sickly figure before me, to be the remains of the lovely, blooming, healthful girl, on whom I had once doted. (p. 155)

40 Detail of William Hogarth, Harlot’s Progress, Pl. 5 (1732), showing Moll’s syphilitic death.

41 He had left the girl whose youth and innocence he had seduced, in a situation of the utmost distress, with no creditable home, no help, no friends, ignorant of his address! He had left her, promising to return; he neither returned, nor wrote, nor relieved her. (p. 157)

42 So altered—so faded—worn down by acute suffering of every kind! hardly could I believe the melancholy and sickly figure before me, to be the remains of the lovely, blooming, healthful girl, on whom I had once doted. (p. 155)

43 It was a valued, a precious trust to me; and gladly would I have discharged it in the strictest sense, by watching over her education myself, had the nature of our situations allowed it; but I had no family, no home; and my little Eliza was therefore placed at school. I saw her there whenever I could, and after the death of my brother, (which happened about five years ago, and which left to me the possession of the family property,) she visited me at Delaford […] It is now three years ago (she had just reached her fourteenth year,) that I removed her from school, to place her under the care of a very respectable woman, residing in Dorsetshire, who had the charge of four or five other girls of about the same time of life; and for two years I had every reason to be pleased with her situation. But last February, almost a twelvemonth back, she suddenly disappeared. I had allowed her, (imprudently, as it has since turned out,) at her earnest desire, to go to Bath with one of her young friends, who was attending her father there for his health. I knew him to be a very good sort of man, and I thought well of his daughter. (pp )

44 Mrs. Ferrars was a little, thin woman, upright, even to formality, in her figure, and serious, even to sourness, in her aspect. Her complexion was sallow; and her features small, without beauty, and naturally without expression; but a lucky contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of pride and ill nature. (p. 174)

45 a fond mother, though, in pursuit of praise for her children, the most rapacious of human beings, is likewise the most credulous; her demands are exorbitant; but she will swallow any thing; and the excessive affection and endurance of the Miss Steeles towards her offspring were viewed therefore by Lady Middleton without the smallest surprise or distrust. She saw with maternal complacency all the impertinent encroachments and mischievous tricks to which her cousins submitted. (p. 91)


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