Enlightened Sentiments: Judgment and Autonomy in the Age of Sensibility

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


Enlightened Sentiments reassesses the Enlightenment's liberal legacies by revisiting the wide-ranging development of eighteenth-century letters known as "sentimentalism." Nazar argues that the recent retrieval of sentimentalism as a predominantly affective culture of sensibility elides its critical motif of moral and aesthetic judgment, and underrates its contributions to the key Enlightenment norm of autonomy. Drawing upon novelists from Samuel Richardson to Jane Austen, and theorists of judgment from David Hume to Hannah Arendt, she contends that sentimental judgment complicates received understandings of liberal ethics as grounded in the opposition of reason and feeling, and autonomy and sociability, and as such, implies a powerful counter-challenge to postmodernist critiques of modernity as the harbinger principally of instrumentalist reason and disciplinary power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages182
ISBN (Electronic)9780823249350
ISBN (Print)9780823240074
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Enlightenment
  • Sentimentalism
  • Liberal Ethics
  • Autonomy
  • Judgment
  • Novel
  • Postmodernism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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