The Work of Feeling in James Hervey's Meditations among the Tombs (1746)

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    Abstract

    James Hervey's Meditations among the Tombs (1746) was published at the height of the literary taste for mortuary sentimentalism. A prose counterpart to contemporary 'graveyard poetry', feeling was central to its brand of religious didacticism. As a result, Hervey's tract can be read as a comprehensive exploration of the didactic opportunities afforded by death, one that expertly employs a series of affective vignettes to cultivate a range of emotional responses, at once looking back to the 'fear and trembling' of Reformation theology, and looking forward to the pleasurable frisson of Gothic fiction and the emotional pedagogy of sentimental literature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-135
    Number of pages15
    JournalParergon
    Volume31
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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