A Sentimental Education

Jenefer Robinson

in Deeper than Reason

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780199263653
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603211 | DOI:
A Sentimental Education

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  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art


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The emotional experience of reading a novel is itself educational, teaching us about life and morality. However, emotional learning is not just a matter of making reflective judgements or acquiring beliefs about the characters and events portrayed, but of making affective appraisals of important events, having our attention focused on these events in a bodily way, and reflecting upon them after the fact. This chapter contains a detailed reading of Edith Wharton's The Reef, in which these themes are explored and illustrated. It also defends the version of ‘reader-response theory’ that underpins the discussion.

Keywords: reading; novel; emotional experience; emotional learning; affective appraisal; Edith Wharton; reader-response theory; literature

Chapter.  17077 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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