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Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown

Sensibility, literature of:

A term used to describe literature of the eighteenth century which exalts emotionalism over rationalism. According to the School of Sensibility, feelings are more reliable guides to truth and conduct than are principles and abstractions. Against the theories that view human beings as motivated by enlightened self-interest, the literature of sensibility views benevolence and sympathy as definitive human traits.

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
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University of Toronto English Library
Director: Ian Lancashire.
Last modified: March 31, 1997