student profile: Ms Megan Nash


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Thesis work

Thesis title: The Gaze Veiled by Tears: Emoting Organs and Sentimental Literature

Supervisors: Vanessa SMITH

Thesis abstract:

The human eye has a dual function as is an organ of perception and expression. The eye can see, but it can also show, and what it tends to show is human emotion. This project considers these functions in eighteenth and nineteenth century sentimental philosophy and literature . It is particularly attuned to moments of tension between the two roles, tensions that range from the physiological to the symbolic and historical. It suggests that in its dual functions, the eye often serves as a synecdoche for the vexed historical relationship between reason and emotion. It will examine this tension within the the philosophy of David Hume and Adam Smith, as well as in the sentimental novels of authors like Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney, Charles Dickens and George Eliot.

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