Jesse Rosenthal's work makes a significant impact in reception studies, the history of feeling, and the study of Victorian fiction. The central question posed by the book is “What do we mean when we say that the progress of a narrative ‘feels right’?” (1) Why does this feeling compel us to continue reading? Why, in contrast, did the prospect of Little Nell's death at the end of The Old Curiosity Shop feel so wrong as to cause readers to protest against the very possibility. Key to this central problem is the question of how ethical concerns of rightness or wrongness get mixed up with feeling and with form. The conjunction of these questions allows the book to make a serious and meaningful intervention both in and beyond Victorian studies. It asks about our most basic and uncontested responses to fiction and sets these reactions in a richly developed historical context...

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