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Title: The impossibility of sympathy
Authors: Gaston, S
Keywords: Sympathy;Sensibility;Fellow feeling;Custom;Idealization;Puritan;Aristotle;Derrida;Hobbes;Locke;John Hughes;Mandeville;Hutcheson;Hume;Adam Smith
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Citation: The Eighteenth Century, 51(1-2), 129 - 152, 2010
Abstract: This article questions the status of sympathy in eighteenth century studies. It argues that sympathy can be seen as an economy of two persistent idealizations: the untouchable—that touches everything. Tracing the genealogy of fellow feeling as a militant Puritan concept of exclusion that is still marked by its theological and political past, the sympathy advocated by Hutcheson, Hume and Smith appears as an idealization confronted by its own impossibility. The eighteenth century is a century in search of an absent and insufficient sympathy, a sympathy that is already preoccupied with its own limitations and excesses: a meta-discourse on sympathy still eludes us.
Description: Copyright © 2010 University of Pennsylvania Press. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.
ISSN: 0193-5380
Appears in Collections:English and Creative Writing
Dept of Arts and Humanities Research Papers

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