Samuels's collection of critical essays gives body and scope to the subject of nineteenth-century sentimentality by situating it in terms of "women's culture" and issues of race. Presenting an interdisciplinary range of approaches that consider sentimental culture before and after the Civil
War, these critical studies of American literature and culture fundamentally reorient the field. Moving beyond alignment with either pro- or anti-sentimentality camps, the collection makes visible the particular racial and gendered forms that define the aesthetics and politics of the culture of
sentiment. Drawing on the fields of American cultural history, American studies, and literary criticism, the contributors include Lauren Berlant, Ann Fabian, Susan Gillman, Karen Halttunen, Carolyn L. Karcher, Joy Kasson, Amy Schrager Lang, Isabelle Lehuu, Harryette Mullen, Dana Nelson, Lora Romero,
Shirley Samuels, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Lynn Wardley, and Laura Wexler.