PAL: Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing Project

© Paul P. Reuben

Appendix Y: Sympathy in American Literature

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November 12, 2011
Bibliography of Recent Scholarship on Sympathy in American Literature


Contributions from Members of the Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists


Compiled by Professor Leslie Petty, Rhodes College


Summer 2011




Bell, Richard. "In Werther's Thrall: Suicide and the Power of Sentimental Reading in Early National America." Early American Literature 46.1 (2011): 93-120.

Clark, Elizabeth B. "'The Sacred Rights of the Weak':  Pain, Sympathy, and the Culture of Individual Rights in Antebellum America." The Journal of American History 82.2 (September 1995): 463-493.

Dillon, Elizabeth. "Sentimental Aesthetics." American Literature 76.3 (2004): 495-523.

Hoeller, Hildegard. "From Agony to Ecstasy: The New Studies of American Sentimentality." ESQ: Journal of the American Renaissance 52.4 (Fall 2006): 339-369.

Insko, Jeffrey. "Passing Current: Electricity, Magnetism, and Historical Transmission in The Linwoods," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 56:3 (2010): 293-26. 

Jones, Paul. "'That I could look . . . on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning': Walt Whitman's Anti-Gallows Writing and the Appeal to Christian Sympathy." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 27 (Fall 2009): 1-27.


Jones, Paul. "'I put my fingers around my throat and squeezed it, to know how it feels': Anti-Gallows Sentimentalism and E.D.E.N. Southworth's The Hidden Hand," Legacy 25.1 (2008): 41-61.

Noble, Marianne. "'The Courage to Speak and Hear the Truth': Sympathy and Genuine Human Contact in Harriet Beecher Stowe's The Minister's Wooing." New England Quarterly 81.4 (2008): 676-702.

Roberts, Heather. "'The Public Heart': Urban Life and the Politics of Sympathy in Lydia Maria Child's Letters from New York." American Literature 76:4 (December 2004): 749-75.

Roggenkamp, Karen. "Sympathy and Sensation: Elizabeth Jordan, Lizzie Borden, and the Female Reporter in Late Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Fictions and Journalism." American Literary Realism 40.1 (2007): 32-51.

Sbriglia, Russell. "Revision and Identification: Emerson and the Ethics of Skepticism and Sympathy." Arizona Quarterly 66.2 (2010): 1-34.


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Bartky, Sandra Lee. Sympathy and Solidarity and Other Essays. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield Pub., 2002.

Barnes, Elizabeth. Love's Whipping Boy: Violence and Sentimentality in the American Imagination. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2011.

Berlant, Lauren. The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Literature. Durham: Duke UP, 2008.

Boudreau, Kristin. Sympathy in American Literature: American Sentiments from Jefferson to the Jameses. Gainesville: UP Florida, 2002.

Burstein, Andrew. Sentimental Democracy: The Evolution of America's Romantic Self-Image. New York: Hill and Wang, 1999.

Chapman, Mary, and Glenn Hendler, eds. Sentimental Men: Masculinity and the Politics of Affect in American Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Cherniavsky, Eva. That Pale Mother Rising: Sentimental Discourses and the Imitation of Motherhood in Nineteenth-Century America. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995.

Crain, Caleb. American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation. New Haven: Yale UP, 2001.

Davis, Theo. Formalism, Experience, and the Making of American Literature in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Cambridge UP, 2007.

Denby, David J. Sentimental Narrative and the Social Order in France, 1760-1820. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.

Dixon, Thomas. The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.

Duane, Anna Mae. Suffering Childhood in Early America: Violence, Race and the Making of the Child Victim. Athens: U Georgia P, 2010.

Duquette, Elizabeth. Loyal Subjects: Bonds of Nation, Race, and Allegiance in Nineteenth-Century America.  New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2010.

Ellison, Julie. Cato's Tears and the Making of Anglo-American Emotion. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1999.

Fichtelberg, Joseph. Critical Fictions: Sentiment and the American Market, 1780&endash;1870. Athens: U Georgia P, 2003.

Frazer, Michael L. The Enlightenment of Sympathy: Justice and the Moral Sentiments in the Eighteenth Century and Today. New York: Oxford UP, 2010.

Gregg, Melissa and Gregory J. Seigworth. The Affect Theory Reader. Durham: Duke UP, 2010.

Hartman, Saidiya V. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.

Hendler, Glenn. Public Sentiments: Structures of Feeling in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2001.

Keen, Suzanne. Empathy and the Novel. New York: Oxford UP, 2010.

Kete, Mary Louise. Sentimental Collaborations: Mourning and Middle-Class Identity in Nineteenth-Century America. Durham: Duke UP, 1999.

Lamb, Jonathan. The Evolution of Sympathy in the Long Eighteenth Century. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

Lowe, Brigid. Victorian Fiction and the Insights of Sympathy: An Alternative to the Hermeneutics of Suspicion. London: Anthem Press, 2007.

McCarthy, Thomas J. Relationships of Sympathy: The Writer and the Reader in British Romanticism. Aldershot: Scolar P, 1997.

Merish, Lori. Sentimental Materialism: Gender, Commodity Culture, and Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Durham: Duke UP, 2000.

Mielke, Laura L. Moving Encounters: Sympathy and the Indian Question in Antebellum Literature. Amherst: U Massachusetts P, 2008.

Mitchell, Robert. Sympathy and the State in the Romantic Era: Systems, State Finance, and the Shadows of Futurity. New York and London: Routledge, 2007.

Moody, Joycelyn. Sentimental Confessions: Spiritual Narratives of Nineteenth-Century African American Women. Athens: U Georgia P, 2003. 

Murison, Justine. The Politics of Anxiety in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. New York: Cambridge UP, 2011.

Ngai, Sianne. Ugly Feelings. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2005.

Noble, Marianne. The Masochistic Pleasures of Sentimental Literature. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000.

Smith, Stephanie. Conceived by Liberty: Maternal Figures and Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1995.

Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador, 2003.

Steele, Jeffrey. Transfiguring America: Myth, Ideology, and Mourning in Margaret Fuller's Writing. Columbia: U Missouri P, 2001.

Stern, Julia A. The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent in the Early American Novel. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1997. 

Taylor, Craig. Sympathy: A Philosophical Analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Tawil, Ezra. The Making of Racial Sentiment: Slavery and the Birth of the Frontier Romance. New York: Cambridge UP, 2006.

Terada, Rai. Feeling in Theory: Emotion after the "Death of the Subject." Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2003.

Thomson, Shawn. The Fortress of American Solitude: Robinson Crusoe and Antebellum Culture. Fairleigh: Dickinson UP, 2009.

Weinstein, Cindy. Family, Kinship, and Sympathy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. New York: Cambridge UP, 2004.



Primary Text


Collins, Jennie. Nature's Aristocracy: A Plea for the Oppressed. 1871. Ed. Judy Ranta. Lincoln: U Nebraska P, 2010.

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "PAL: Appendix Y: Sympathy in American Literature." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL: (provide page date or date of your login).


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