We've all been intimidated by Oscar Wilde- and his bon mot about Little Nell. He's made it uncool to be moved by fiction. And yet Wilde was the most sentimental writer going. Have you read the Selfish Giant or the Happy Prince? He makes Dickens look stoical.
Wilde- and the twentieth century opinion makers that followed him- had daddy issues with the Victorians. Their mockery isn't thought through. It's instinctive and defensive. The Victorians were sentimental, therefore sentimentality is bad. But it's the Twenty First century now, the Victorians are our great-great-great grandparents- and it's time we dropped our great-great grandparents feud with them.