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The Man of Feeling by Henry Mackenzie

The Man of Feeling (1771)

by Henry Mackenzie

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In this eighteenth century sentimental novel we are shown fragments of Harley's life and events he heard about or witnessed. Harley's parents died when he was young, and the only thing his guardians could agree on was that he should find a way to increase his income. To this end, he travels to London and back to the countryside again. Along the way he encounters various people, all of whom are going through some kind of hardship. Harley, as a man capable of empathizing with others in a world governed by selfishness, tries to help as much as he can, even though he is sometimes taken in by swindlers.

It was a little hard to get into, and there's very little actual plot, but this relatively short read is a good introduction to the genre of the sentimental novel. The focus is on emotions over everything else, and Harley is certainly full of emotions: sympathy, compassion, benevolence, pity, etc. The events get a little hard to believe after a while, but that was characteristic of the genre. This book is well worth reading for it's place in literary history alone. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Dull 18th century sentimental novel, doesn't escape its genre. Must have been very affecting at the time, but in our modern ironic age this is just too earnest and sappy. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Oct 13, 2014 |
What more do you need from a contemporary novel? Clever clever narrative disruption? Check. Post-romantic fragmentation? Check. Rejection of final moral? Check. And every time someone writes a review saying 'why doesn't he man up' they prove why people should read this book *seriously*. Yeah, it's funny that the man tears up over seemingly everything - but he also hires hookers, so, you know, he's not such a snag. And honestly, the world probably would be a better place if people were actually upset by massive injustice, poverty, cruelty and so on.
But why do that when you can be hip and ironic and roll your eyes, right? Love it, dude. Black on black. Awesome. Pass the porn. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Mackenzieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vickers, BrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192840320, Paperback)

Mackenzie's hugely popular novel of 1771 is the foremost work of the sentimental movement, in which sentiment and sensibility were allied with true virtue, and sensitivity is the mark of the man of feeling. The hero, Harley, is followed in a series of episodes demonstrating his benevolence in an uncaring world: he assists the down-trodden, loses his love, and fails to achieve worldly success. The novel asks a series of vital questions: what morality is possible in a complex commercial world? Does trying to maintain it make you a saint or a fool? Is sentiment merely a luxury for the leisured classes?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:56 -0400)

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