Sentimentalism is one of the literary trends of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The ancestors of this trend were several authors who brought their own traits to the theory of sentimentalism.
What is sentimentalism
Unlike traditional productsWriters, realists, impartially describing events, sentimentalism paid special attention to the feelings - both heroes and the author himself. This current was born in England, in the early 18th century. Its founder is the poet James Thomson, who wrote the poem The Seasons. It showed the idyllic life of village residents in the bosom of nature, their simple feelings and experiences. The baton was soon picked up by other authors - Samuel Richardson, Lawrence Stern and Thomas Gray, creating sensual novels, imbued with melancholy moods and lyrical digressions. Thus, the main features of sentimentalism were formed: subjectivity in the description of events, extensive authorial digressions, idealization of the main characters, sharpening of attention to feelings, not events, the cult of morality, the predominance of feelings over the mind. In Russia, sentimentalism developed in the 1890s.
Unlike Russian, European sentimentalism was inherent in edification and moralizing.
The first Russian sentimentalists
N.M. Karamzin became a pioneer of sentimentalism in Russian literature. His work "The Letters of a Russian Traveler" was written under the influence of sentimental novels by J.-J. Rousseau. In contrast to the usual travel notes, the "Letters" focuses on the hero's impressions and his sensual development. The more famous work of Karamzin was "Poor Lisa", which gained immense popularity. In the story, village life and ordinary villagers are idealized, and the description of a short stretch of time stretches into dozens of pages due to a number of lyrical digressions. Despite many inconsistencies, Karamzin's works became innovative for his time and received a lot of imitations.
"Poor Liza" became one of the first Russian works, which ends with the death of the heroine.
In the sentimental vein began to write and VA. Zhukovsky. The poet was familiar with Karamzin, and from him he learned about a new literary flow. Descriptions of feelings carried away the young Zhukovsky, and he created his first sentimental work - "Rural Cemetery". The poem was a free translation of the elegy of the English poet Thomas Gray, but already here Zhukovsky showed the characteristic features of his work. The work was published in the almanac "Herald of Europe". Later Zhukovsky continued to be published in the publication, and in 1808 he became its editor.
Other Russian authors-sentimentalists were not so well known, and by 1820 the direction had completely exhausted itself.