When did the sentimental start to mean awful? Why are many popular mainstream films so often dismissed for their sentimentality? What are the key differences between the sentimental and the melodramatic? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this illuminating genealogy of the sentimental as both literary genre and aesthetic philosophy, a tradition that prefigures the advent of film yet serves as a vital framework for understanding its emotional and ethical appeals.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 166-180) and index.