Ruined by Design: Shaping Novels and Gardens in the Culture of Sensibility

Front Cover
Routledge, Jan 11, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 298 pages
0 Reviews

By examining the motif of ruination in a variety of late-eighteenth-century domains, this book portrays the moral aesthetic of the culture of sensibility in Europe, particularly its negotiation of the demands of tradition and pragmatism alongside utopian longings for authenticity, natural goodness, self-governance, mutual transparency, and instantaneous kinship. This book argues that the rhetoric of ruins lends a distinctive shape to the architecture and literature of the time and requires the novel to adjust notions of authorship and narrative to accommodate the prevailing aesthetic. Just as architects of eighteenth-century follies pretend to have discovered "authentic" ruins, novelists within the culture of sensibility also build purposely fragmented texts and disguise their authorship, invoking highly artificial means of simulating nature. The cultural pursuit of human ruin, however, leads to hypocritical and sadistic extremes that put an end to the characteristic ambivalence of sensibility and its unusual structures.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Sensibility and its Discontents
1
1 Redeeming Ruin
22
2 The Anatomy of Follies
66
3 Reading Ruin
107
4 Constructing Human Ruin
153
The Luxuries of Distress
197
Notes
205
Bibliography
248
Index
261
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

An award-winning teacher and essayist, Dr. Brodey is Assistant Professor in English and Comparative Literature and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has published extensively on Jane Austen, Laurence Sterne, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Preromanticism, and the Culture of Sensibility.

Bibliographic information