Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Sentimentality

So what's the problem? Why is that word still used as a put-down? We all like a good cry, don't we?  Speaking for myself I love it when Dickens emotes over a dead kiddy or Richard Curtis makes amends to Van Gogh. I don't find such moments embarrassing. I don't find them cheap. Life is sad and tears are the proper response to a lot of what goes on in it.  Is making people weep any less respectable than making them laugh?

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.
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