Cato's Tears and the Making of Anglo-American Emotion

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-12-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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How did the public expression of feeling become central to political culture in England and the United States? In this ambitious revisionist account of a much expanded "Age of Sensibility," Julie Ellison traces the evolution of the politics of emotion on both sides of the Atlantic from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. Early popular dramas of this time, Ellison shows, linked male stoicism with sentimentality through portrayals of stoic figures whose civic sacrifices bring other men to tears. Later works develop a different model of sensibility, drawing their objects of sympathy from other races and classes--Native Americans, African slaves, servants. Only by examining these texts in light of the complex masculine tradition of stoic sentimentality, Ellison argues, can one interpret women's roles in the culture of sensibility. In her conclusion, Ellison offers "a short history of liberal guilt," exploring the enduring link between male stoicism and male sensibility in political and cultural life from the late seventeenth century to today.

Author Biography

Jolie K. Ellison is professor of English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and director of "Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life," a national initiative.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction Someday Bridges May Have Feelings Too 1(22)
Conspiracy, Sensibility, and the Stoic
Cato's Tears
The Deathbed of the Just
Female Authorship, Public Fancy
Vagrant Races
Walkers, Stalkers, Captives, Slaves
Conclusion Liberal Guilt and Libertarian Revival
Notes 195(30)
Index 225

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