Critics have focused on Vernon Lee’s concept of aesthetic empathy; however, little attention has been directed toward the ways she deploys aesthetic empathy in her other writing. Lee demonstrates how empathy creates successful connections in art as well as in personal relationships, history, and travel. To show the connections across Lee’s multi-genre work, this article examines how Lee’s understanding of aesthetic empathy evolves, how her travel essays clarify her theory on empathy and put it into practice for her readers, and how Louis Norbert embodies her theory by creating emotional connections between authors, readers, and characters separated by time and space but united through imagination. The application of Lee’s aesthetic empathy to fiction results in a narrative structure that utilizes conventions of the Victorian novel while presaging the developments of literary modernism. Aesthetic empathy transforms these genres, allowing Lee to communicate her ideas with a less technical readership. [148 words]


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pp. 352-370
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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