By Laurence Lerner
What's the distinction among private and non-private feeling, and the way a long way will we deduce prior emotions from the phrases which have been left us? Why do baby deaths determine so usually and so prominently within the literature of the 19th century, and the way used to be the subject matter of the dying of a kid used to elicit such poignant responses within the readers of that period? during this interesting new booklet, Laurence Lerner vividly contrasts the contempt with which 20th- century feedback so frequently dismisses such works as mere sentimentality with the passion and tears of nineteenth-century contemporaries.Drawing examples from either genuine and literary deaths, Lerner delves into the writings of recognized authors akin to Dickens, Coleridge, Shelley, Flaubert, Mann, Huxley, and Hesse, in addition to lesser identified writers like Felicia Hemans and Lydia Sigourney. within the procedure, he synthesizes clean principles concerning the thorny topics of sentimentality, aesthetic judgment, and the functionality of faith in literature.Lerner's forthright and evocative prose variety is agreeable examining, and he excels in teasing out the ethical implications and the psychosocial entanglements of his selected narrative and lyrical texts. this can be a ebook that would remove darkness from an immense element of the background of personal existence. it's going to have vast software for these drawn to the background, sociology, and literature of the 19th century.
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Extra resources for Angels and absences: child deaths in the nineteenth century
Finally, the most shadowy figure of all: the dead child, who provides the link between this episode and the rest of this book. He was not even given a name, and does not figure in the royal genealogies; yet politically, his loss was in the long run the most important. )as if a dead Prince is finer than a living commoner! If there Page 11 is any one point on which it would be revealing to penetrate the inaccessibility of the private feelings of the dead, it would be to find out if there was any grief for this infant.
It is not pleasant schooling; but I think it is wise. V. falls ill and dies, and the last "letter" describes his final conversation with her: Can you believe this? I cannot; and yet I saw it. A little while before she died I heard her speaking in an almost inaudible whisper. I knelt down and leaned over her. " "Yourn iccle baby. " She moved her wasted little hand as if to lift a fold in the bedclothes. Close beside her lay that other little one, with its white worn face and its poor arms crossed in that old-womanish fashion in front of her.
His true grief is, then, left private. And are we being told the truth? The question thrusts itself upon us when we compare the accounts of Leopold with those of his father-in-law. The assurances about the Prince Regent's emotions are almost as emphatic as those about Leopold's. When he saw the body of his daughter, we are told, he had a stroke of apoplexy; and the Gentleman's Magazine went so far as to write, If there be one trait which is more marked than another in the character of the Prince Regent, it is his affection for all the members of his family; and if there was one individual in whom that affection was more intensely centred than another, it was his beloved and only Daughter.
Angels and absences: child deaths in the nineteenth century by Laurence Lerner