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|GR--The Cult of Sensibility
Written by BarbaraB
(9/6/2003 12:40 a.m.)
There has been a lot of discussion on this topic (obviously) particularly in relation to Elinor and Marianne so I thought this little paragraph from Jane Austen's World that I just happened upon might be of interest:
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 feelings was a sign of superior character. It followed that it 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 decencies of social behavior.
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