Sebastian Smee

The Man of Feeling

Can a writer be guilty of an excess of sympathy for his characters? Sympathy, we are forever being reminded (Tolstoy and Chekhov being the great exemplars), is the hallmark of great fiction. But unless it is combined with a touch of icy objectivity, it can come to cloy, honeying the sensibility rather than truly taxing it.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in