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By C. Nagle

This can be the 1st research to totally hint the effect of Sensibility on British Romanticism. Sensibility consistently discovered new varieties of expression within the overdue Eighteenth and early 19th century. Nagle explores the way it coexisted and intermingled with Romanticism and revises the conventional narratives of literary periodization of this period.

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Example text

32 In what ways they might come to be configured is ultimately left to the reader’s imagination, as Yorick’s earlier “complaints” have suggested, encouragingly, all along. One is free to wonder, for instance, first, why Yorick feels the need to stick his arm out in the direction of the lady’s bed to make his point; second, why the lady chooses to engage him so energetically rather than, say, ignoring him if she really wishes to be left alone; and, third, why ‘THE HEART’S BEST BLOOD’ 37 the maid has taken it upon herself to get so close to Yorick’s bed—and her lady’s—while investigating the ruckus, rather than simply eavesdropping from the safer distance of her own doorway.

As the wealth of ongoing responses testifies, many people were ready to pick up the pen—some of them alleging to be picking up Yorick’s own pen, or even penning themselves as Yorick—to perpetuate an already established tradition of Sternean (or Shandean) writing. Having previously inspired parodic explanatory remarks, poetic tributes, anecdotal collections of biographical notes, a new card game, the name of a racehorse, and a recipe for soup with his first work, Sterne’s influence multiplies even further with the publication of Sentimental Journey and his subsequent death.

Unlike texts of Sensibility, Romantic texts like Wordsworth’s strenuously insist on the proper way to read and to feel—a point memorably made by Keats, among others—rather than teasing the reader out of thought and into less predictable and containable collaborative engagements of feeling as Sterne would do so well in his works. As I will show, Sterne’s work embodies the message through its medium, performatively and excessively, mixing and mobilizing the energies of Sensibility in a constant process of material (textual) circulation.

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