The Age of Reasons: Quixotism, Sentimentalism, and Political Economy in Eighteenth Century Britain

Overview

Wendy Motooka contends that 'the Age of Reason' was actually an Age of Reasons. Joining imaginative literature, moral philosophy, and the emerging discourse of the new science, she seeks to historicise the meaning of eighteenth-century 'reason' and its supposed opposites, quixotism and sentimentalism. Reading novels by the Fieldings, Lennox and Sterne alongside the works of Adam Smith, Motooka argues that the legacy of sentimentalism is the social sciences. This book raises our understanding of eighteenth-century...

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Overview

Wendy Motooka contends that 'the Age of Reason' was actually an Age of Reasons. Joining imaginative literature, moral philosophy, and the emerging discourse of the new science, she seeks to historicise the meaning of eighteenth-century 'reason' and its supposed opposites, quixotism and sentimentalism. Reading novels by the Fieldings, Lennox and Sterne alongside the works of Adam Smith, Motooka argues that the legacy of sentimentalism is the social sciences. This book raises our understanding of eighteenth-century British culture and its relation to the 'rational' culture of economics that is growing ever more prevasive today.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of abbreviations
Introduction: the quixotic problem 1
1 Turning authority into jest: tyrants, pedants, quixotes and enthusiasts in the early eighteenth century 32
2 Common sense, moral sense and nonsense: sentimentalism and the empirical study of invisible things 74
3 Coming to a bad end: sentimentalism, The Female Quixote and the power of interest 125
4 Seeing the general view: Henry Fielding and quixotic authorship 142
5 De gustibus non est disputandum: Tristram Shandy and "the production of a rational Being" 173
6 Laying down the general rule: Adam Smith, impartial spectators and the philosopher's trade 198
Epilogue: "The grandsons of Adam Smith" 231
Notes 237
Bibliography 262
Index 275
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