Wordsworth, sentimentalism, and the defiance of sympathy

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Romanticism's varied inheritance from eighteenth-century philosophy is a recurrent topic in criticism because of the complex nature of both the concepts at stake and the responses of nineteenth-century authors to a tradition in which they were deeply immersed. This essay explores the conceptual role of disappointment in one well-known Wordsworthian encounter with a needy stranger, "The Discharged Soldier" episode from Book 4 of The Prelude. My aim is to place this encounter within the context of influential eighteenth- century theories of moral sentiment, showing how they illuminate tensions between perceptual uncertainty and affective confidence lurking in the works of authors often cited simply as background sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Romantic Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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