The Age of Reasons
Quixotism, Sentimentalism, and Political Economy in Eighteenth Century Britain
Routledge – 1998 – 296 pages
Wendy Motooka contends that 'the Age of Reason' was actually an Age of Reasons. Joining imaginative literature, moral philosophy, and the emerging discourse of the new science, she seeks to historicise the meaning of eighteenth-century 'reason' and its supposed opposites, quixotism and sentimentalism. Reading novels by the Fieldings, Lennox and Sterne alongside the works of Adam Smith, Motooka argues that the legacy of sentimentalism is the social sciences. This book raises our understanding of eighteenth-century British culture and its relation to the 'rational' culture of economics that is growing ever more prevasive today.