Sentimental Education Essay

Mary Ruefle
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Dyer holds a Ph.D. in English literature and has published extensively on fiction, poetry, film, and television. He is also a freelance university teacher, writer, and educational consultant. In this essay, he discusses “Sentimental Education” in terms of the philosophy of love introduced in the eighteenth century in the writings of Rousseau and Goethe.

The mid-eighteenth century saw the publication of two novels that changed dramatically the ways that writers and poets thought and wrote about love and romance. In Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), the longstanding cultural idea of love as either a contract that authorizes sexual relations or a financial arrangement was changed forever. These two novels imagined a new concept of love, one shaped more by emotion and spirituality than sex...

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This section contains 1,220 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sentimental Education Study Guide
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