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|Cult of Sensibility
Written by BarbaraB
(9/30/2006 12:45 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Very visually descriptive passage..., penned by Reeba
Yes, there is a tendency to be amused because Mairanne is overly dramatic but to her, this is the appropriate response to her very real feelings. In JANE AUTEN'S WORLD under the section "The cult of sensibility: is this paragraph:
The earliest of her novels, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, is a reaction to Jane Austen's youthful reading. The cult of sensibility, which was prevalent in the literature of that time, argued that to have overpowering feeling was a sign of superior character. It followed that is was as wrong as it was hopeless to try to control or hide such feelings, whatever inconvenience or suffering they may cause their owner or anybody else. Jane Austen had two quarrels with the cult of sensibility. The first was that people might exaggerate and falsify their feelings in order to be thought superior. The other was that even when feelings were deeply held and true, they did not excuse their owner from observing the common decensies of social behavior.
Absolutely, JA does have the ability of humbling a reader. I am always in awe that she can write so powerfully---enough to make us humble and feel so much of the dramatic force of a scene, and yet, at the same time, often find ourselves smiling in amusement. How does one manage to be so clever, is what I'd like to know. :)
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