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Encyclopedia > Sensibility

Sensibility refers to an acute perception of or responsiveness toward something, such as the emotions of another. This concept emerged in eighteenth-century Britain, and was closely associated with studies of sense perception as the means through which knowledge is gathered. Emotion, in its most general definition, is an intense neural impulse-produced mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and evokes either a positive or negative psychological response to move an organism to action. ...


One of the first of such texts would be John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, where he says, "I conceive that Ideas in the Understanding, are coeval with Sensation; which is such an Impression or Motion, made in some part of the Body, as produces some Perception in the Understanding." George Cheyne and other medical writers wrote of "The English Malady," also called "hysteria" in women or "hypochondria" in men, a condition with symptoms that closely resemble the modern diagnosis of clinical depression. Cheyne considered this malady to be the result of over-taxed nerves. At the same time, theorists asserted that individuals who had ultra-sensitive nerves would have keener senses, and thus be more aware of beauty and moral truth. Thus, while it was considered a physical and/or emotional fragility, sensibility was also widely perceived as a virtue. John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) was an influential English philosopher. ... George Cheyne (1671-1743) was a physician and medical writer, born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, who opened a medical practice in London in 1702. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Hypochondria (or hypochondriasis, sometimes referred to as health anxiety or health phobia) is a somatoform disorder in which one has the unfounded belief that one is suffering from a serious illness. ... Clinical depression (also called severe depressive disorder, major depressive disorder) is a state of intense sadness, melancholia or despair that has advanced to the point of being disruptive to an individuals social functioning and/or activities of daily living. ...


Originating in philosophical and scientific writings, Sensibility became an English-language literary movement, particularly in the then-new genre of the novel. Such works, called sentimental novels, featured individuals who were prone to sensibility, often weeping, fainting, feeling weak, or having fits in reaction to an emotionally moving experience. If one were especially sensible, one might react this way to scenes or objects that appear insignificant to others. This reactivity was considered an indication of a sensible person's ability to perceive something intellectually or emotionally stirring in the world around them. However, the popular sentimentl genre soon met with a strong backlash, as anti-Sensibility readers writers contended that such extreme behavior was mere histrionics, and such an emphasis on one's own feelings and reactions a sign of narcissism. This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ...


Objections to Sensibility emerged on other fronts. For one, some conservative thinkers that believed in a priori concepts, that is, knowledge that exists independent of experience, such as innate knowledge believed to be imparted by God. Theorists of the a priori distrusted Sensibility because of its over-reliance on experience for knowledge. Also, in the last decades of the eighteenth century, anti-Sensibility thinkers often associated the emotional volatility of Sensibility with the exuberant violence of the French Revolution, and in response to fears of revolution coming to Britain, Sensible figures were coded as anti-patriotic or even politically subversive. Maria Edgeworth's Leonora, for example, depicts the "Sensible" Olivia as a villainess who contrives her passions or at least bends the to suit her selfish wants; the text also makes a point to say that Olivia has lived in France and thus adopted "French" manners. In addition, the effusive nature of most sentimental heroes, such as Harley in Mackenzie's A Man of Feeling, was often decried by literary critics as weak effeminacy, helping to discredit sentimental novels, and to a lesser extent, all novels, as unmanly works.


See: sentimental novel The sentimental novel is an 18th century literary genre which celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment , sentimentalism and sensibility. ...


See also


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Sense and Sensibility - Rotten Tomatoes (624 words)
Sense and Sensibility is an absorbing, delightful, and nuanced movie.
Sense and Sensibility is a triumph, and a film to be treasured.
Sense and Sensibility is an enjoyable film, and yet it left me somehow unsatisfied.
Sensibility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (467 words)
Sensibility refers to an acute perception of or responsiveness toward something, such as the emotions of another.
Originating in philosophical and scientific writings, Sensibility became an English-language literary movement, particularly in the then-new genre of the novel.
Also, in the last decades of the eighteenth century, anti-Sensibility thinkers often associated the emotional volatility of Sensibility with the exuberant violence of the French Revolution, and in response to fears of revolution coming to Britain, Sensible figures were coded as anti-patriotic or even politically subversive.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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