Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The role and relevance of negative passions in the conception of eighteenth-century sensibility
Author: Minou, Paschalina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 9564
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis argues for the inclusion of negative emotions, and more specifically, of anger, resentment and envy in the discussion of eighteenth-century Sensibility. It stems from the fact that negative emotion is underemphasised in the context of Sensibility due to its connections to valorised victimhood, religious ideals of virtue and the argument for the reformation of manners. By contrast, this thesis reveals the role and relevance of these emotions to the study of Sensibility, finding evidence in three major kinds of discourses: the theoretical and philosophical discourse, the novel, and physiological theories of the time. Offering readings informed by recent insights from the study of the history of emotions it shows how these emotions are included in the discussions of Sensibility by virtue of necessity. The philosophical ideal of Sensibility, being defined in opposition to negative and egoistic passions, needs to include them, at the very least in order to discount them. In its turn, this creates strict criteria of expression that apply to these emotions which, nevertheless, find their place in the novel. In the early novels of Sensibility expressions of anger and resentment are included because they are connected to notions of moral injury, insult and injustice. These notions resonate deeply within a culture of specified codes of honour and virtue that simultaneously vests the domestic locus with utmost importance and defines female and sentimental virtue in strict terms. Envy is also included in the novel due to its connotations of social disruption and the disparity with social visions of Sensibility. In physiology, a comprehensive model that appeals to notions of balance and motion – and not solely focusing on the nerve – finds a desirable aspect in anger as invigorating. This idea is extended as metaphor to the novel as well. Following these considerations, the thesis finds that it is not the categorical exclusion but rare and firm instances of negative passions that sustain notions and the genre of Sensibility by offering extended versions of the sentimental. Furthermore, it notes that these instances of negative passions enhance the relatedness of these works to modern sensibilities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Eighteenth-century novel ; Sensibility ; Anger ; Resentment ; Envy ; Physiology