TITLE

SENTIMENTALITY IN POSTMODERNIST FICTION: FROM ETHICAL PROBLEM TO ETHICAL POSSIBILITY

AUTHOR(S)
Winnberg, Jakob
PUB. DATE
July 2005
SOURCE
Critical Studies;2005, Vol. 26, p349
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This essay takes issue with the contention that sentimentality is ethically as well as aesthetically questionable, a contention that makes sentimentality especially problematic in postmodernist fiction; firstly, because postmodernist fiction is marked by a heightened self-consciousness that ought to preclude the alleged crudeness of sentimentality, and secondly, because postmodernist fiction is increasingly seen as confluent with an ethics of alterity that would preclude the alleged self-indulgence of sentimentality. Winnberg, however, argues that sentimentality may be perfectly compatible with both self-consciousness and with an ethics of alterity. He demonstrates how, in postmodernist narratives like Graham Swift's Out of This World, sentimentality can actually be seen as emerging as a route to the affective openness of "sensibility" that has such a decisive place in the thinking of Levinas. Ultimately, sentimentality has to be recognised, accepted and understood as a persisting, inescapable part of society that deserves a place in cultural representations without ensuing accusations of aesthetic or ethical irresponsibility on the part of the artist. Rather than a problem, sentimentality constitutes a possibility.
ACCESSION #
19390806

 

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