Jean-Jacques Rousseau, La Nouvelle Heloise (1761)

Rousseau describes the mode of writing proper for expressing passion, in the second Preface to La Nouvelle Heloise:

...a letter really dictated by love, written by a lover under the impulse of a real passion, will be tame, diffuse, prolix, incoherent, and full of repetitions: his heart overflowing with the same sentiment, constantly returns to the same expressions, and like a natural fountain flows continually without being exhausted. Nothing brilliant, nothing remarkable ...yet we are moved without knowing why. Though we are not struck with strength of sentiment, we are touched with its truth; and our hearts, in spite of us, sympathise with the writer. But men of no sensibility, who know nothing more than the flowery jargon of the passions, are ignorant of those beauties, and despise them. (xxi)

He describes the characters of the novel as:

Two or three young people, simple, if you will, but sensible, who mutually express the real sentiments of their hearts, without any intention to display their wit. (xxii)

Related terms:

a dictionary of sensibility
term list
source bibliography
critical bibliography