Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Enlightened SentimentsJudgment and Autonomy in the Age of Sensibility$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Hina Nazar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240074

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240074.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Judging Clarissa's Heart

Judging Clarissa's Heart

Chapter:
(p.59) 3. Judging Clarissa's Heart
Source:
Enlightened Sentiments
Author(s):

Hina Nazar

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823240074.003.0004

This chapter considers the famous “inward turn” Samuel Richardson's seminal sentimental novel, Clarissa, instantiates at the level of both form and moral theme. The story of a virtuous young woman who finds that virtue can no longer be realized in obedience to her elders, Clarissa locates itself at the heart of the liberal Enlightenment through the importance it attaches to the judgments and feelings of its heroine. But the relationship between judgment and feeling it envisions is an ambiguous one. On the one hand, Richardson's heroine represents her judgments as instinctive responses, the work of her judging heart, which mysteriously reveals God's laws. On the other hand, she understands judgment to entail scrutinizing the heart from a standpoint of relative impartiality. This account is sentimentalist because it takes impartiality to be a contingency of Clarissa's epistolary friendship with Anna Howe, who helps Clarissa gain distance from her heart's promptings by becoming a co-spectator of them. I suggest that the first, broadly religious, paradigm of judgment identifies Clarissa only ambiguously as an independent moral agent: while she is justified by the highest principles to defy worldly authority, she nonetheless remains God's obedient servant. By contrast, the second, broadly secular paradigm mobilizes an at once less transcendental and more compelling understanding of autonomy as moral independence nurtured by friendship and debate.

Keywords:   Samuel Richardson, Sentimentalism, Virtue, Judgment, Heart, Religion, Epistolary Novel, Friendship

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .