Category: Mind | Type: Historical | Title: Persuasion (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter 12

"Praise...Glory...Sympathy," this is a brief hymn to nature.

Sympathy (Search) as an idea intrinsic to moral theory was born in the early 18th c. with Shaftesbury's Characteristics (1711) and developed over the course of the century by luminaries such as the philosopher David Hume, the economist and moralist Adam Smith, and novelists such as Richardson, Sterne, and later Goldsmith. The Romantic poets, especially Cowper, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats register sympathy in individual ways, and Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley extend sympathy to an uncanny responsiveness to nature that goes well beyond "the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze." 

return to text