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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the treatment of sentimentality and sensibility across Charles Brockden Brown’s fiction within the historical and cultural context of the wider Atlantic world. It considers the changing ways in which literary critics have responded to Brown’s use of sentiment, as well as the role this feature of his fiction has played in determining his place within literary history. The chapter argues that the representation of feeling in Brown’s fiction should be paired with a study of finance, speculation, and consumer society. Brown explores and exposes sympathy’s double bind, which lubricates the wheels of commerce even as it seeks to stop its destructive effects.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, sentimentalism, sensibility, sympathy, affect theory, feeling, economics, finance, speculation, consumer society

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