Looking at works by Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott, among others, Barnes shows how violence and sensibility work together to produce a more "sensitive" citizenry. Aggression becomes a site of redemptive possibility because salvation is gained when the powerful protagonist identifies with the person he harms. Barnes argues that this identification and emotional transformation come at a high price, however, as the reparative ends are bought with another's blood.
Critics of nineteenth-century literature have tended to think about sentimentality and violence as opposing strategies in the work of nation-building and in the formation of U.S. national identity. Yet to understand how violence gets folded into sentimentality's egalitarian goals is to recognize, importantly, the deep entrenchment of aggression in the empathetic structures of liberal, Christian culture in the United States.
Read alsoThe Interrelation of Phenomenology, Social Sciences and the Arts
This book features papers written by renowned international scholars that analyze the interdependence of art, phenomenology, and social science. The papers show how the analysis of the production as well as the perception and interpretation of art work needs to take into consideration the subjective viewpoint of the artist in addition to that of…