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The Emergence of Sentimental Probability

The Emergence of Sentimental Probability

(p.203) Six The Emergence of Sentimental Probability
An Archaeology of Sympathy
James Chandler
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the problem of probability in sentimental narrative. It describes this problem as a crossing of the mimetic and pragmatic axes of representation in the context of a national readership. In less schematic terms, it means that probability arises as a problem when collective sentiment becomes the object of representation, in both senses of “object”—when writers aspire, that is, to move national sympathies in the act of depicting them. The formation of national sentiment depends crucially on the cross-cutting causes and effects that come into play when writers in eighteenth-century “media culture” engage in the commerce of feeling.

Keywords:   sentimental narrative, sentiment, probability

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