Sympathetic Imagination In William Keats And Austen By William Austen

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According to Beth, besides its important role in the creative process, negative capability also had for both Keats and Austen a moral dimension, in that it allows individuals to overcome selfishness and experience compassion for others.Another name for this aspect of negative capability is the sympathetic imagination and the most influential proponents of this concept was Adam Smith. As James Engell notes, Smith clearly proposes that "sympathy is the basis of all moral thought and action, and the sole agency by which this sympathetic feeling operates is the imagination"(88). Engell also claims that Smith 's theory of moral sentiments "was hugely influential" and names William Hazlitt and Percy Bysshe Shelley Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Keats who share in the theories of the sympathetic imagination. Though Keats never read Adam Smith, by some strange coincidence he from time to time says exactly the same things as Smith. Smith upholds sympathy, but at the same time his principle is As we have no immediate experience of what other men feel, we can form no idea of the manner in which they are affected ... Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by imagination only ... [that] we enter as it were into his body, and become ... the same person with him. (Smith, The Theory of Moral Setiments, 2002, p. 1) This imagined

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