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On sentimentality

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Sentimentalism.
  • Literature


On Sentimentality" describes sentimentality as a space-biased mode of perception. Set in a theory of modes, it is argued that, much less than being a manifestation of emotion, sentimentality is a rational conceptualization of experience and meaning. The expression and experience of meaning is considered by tracing the relationship of time and space dimensions from the mythic and rhetorical modes which emphasize the time dimension, to the balance achieved in the formal mode, to the dominance of the space dimension in the descriptive and sentimental modes. It is suggested that where the descriptive mode analyzes the entities and conditions of the mundane world, the sentimental mode applies these rational methods of analysis to the expressive dimension of human experience.

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