CFP: [18th] The Poetry of Sentiment (9/15/07; ASECS 3/27-30/08)

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Tobias Menely
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In 1701, John Dennis characterized poetry as “pathetick” and “passionate”
“speech.” Twenty-five years later, James Thomson described his poetic
ambition to awaken “the moral sentiment” in his readers. Such statements
notwithstanding, the place of poetry in the culture of sentimentâ€"with its
powerful fusion of moral and aesthetic philosophy, sensationist psychology,
middle-class ideology, literary practice, and reformist politicsâ€"remains
opaque, in part because the revisionist scholarship of the past two decades
has tended to focus on the novel. This panel will feature papers that seek
to invigorate our understanding of the intersection between sentiment and
verse as something other than a best-forgotten interludeâ€"an Age of
Sensibilityâ€"between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Papers will examine a
sentimental poetics more rhetorical and didactic than expressive, more
public than private, more oriented by pathos than sublimity. They will ask
how ‘sentimentality’ helps us to understand both formal and social elements
of eighteenth-century poetry, including its place in the history of
aesthetics, the humanitarian reform movement, and the rise of the reading

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Received on Mon Aug 13 2007 - 14:39:15 EDT