Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1741), "Preface"

As the occasion of this poem was real, not fictitious; so the method pursued in it was rather imposed by what spontaneously arose in the author's mind on that occasion, than meditated or designed; which will appear very probable from the nature of it; for it differs from the common mode of poetry, which is from long narrations to draw short morals. Here, on the contrary, the narrative is short, and the morality arising from it makes the bulk of the poem. The reason of it is, that the facts mentioned did naturally pour these moral reflections on the thought of the writer.

The correspondence of world and subject is at the center of any sensibility story, yet that correspondence is often twisted into unusual and terrifying shapes. Sensibility can stake no special claim on the world/subject drama; every epic and tragic narrative is an articulation or modulation of that relationship. Classical epic stages the subject as it expands to meet the enormities of world-history; classical tragedy stages the society as it expands to comprehend the enormities of the renegade subject. In the poetry of sensibility, the world does not generally reclaim the subject, who consequently becomes a sort of prophet against the world, chronicling the disintegration of his fellow-men and practicing benevolence upon cats and lice.

Related terms:

a dictionary of sensibility
term list
source bibliography
critical bibliography