Death in Nineteenth-Century British Literature Responses To Death - Essay

Responses To Death

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Fred Kaplan (essay date 1987)

SOURCE: "Are You Sentimental?" in Sacred Tears: Sentimentality in Victorian Literature, Princeton University Press, 1987, pp.39-70.

[In the excerpt below, Kaplan contends that Charles Dickens' depictions of death were deliberately sentimental so as to arouse and encourage the public's sense of morality.]

.. . In his depiction of the deaths of Little Nell and Paul Dombey, Dickens dramatizes his belief in the innate moral sentiments and in sentimentality as morally instructive. "Yet nothing teacheth like death," one of Dickens' predecessors, whose works he owned, preached. William Dodd's widely read Reflections on...

(The entire section is 8640 words.)