Abstract

Abstract:

In the early nineteenth century, Maria Edgeworth wrote a text that was an attempt at expiation for her previous stereotypical Jewish characters. Harrington (1817) was a novel about the sources of prejudice and how to overcome it. For Edgeworth, tolerance is a process rooted in Adam Smith's theorization of sympathy, in understanding how an individual would feel in another person's place. Edgeworth also embraces David Hume's conception of sympathy as contagion, an articulation of communal feeling. If prejudice is pathological, then the cure can also be found in the body. The novel ends, however, with the disturbing implication that, if both sympathy and negative affect are uncontrollable, complete tolerance may be unachievable. What remains in Harrington is not an endorsement of the power of toleration, but a dramatization of the pervasiveness of prejudice.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-0243
Print ISSN
0840-6286
Pages
pp. 685-704
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-16
Open Access
No
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