“Sentiment”, “sentimentality” and “sensibility” become key terms in English literature from the 1740s to the 1770s, influencing the narrative form, moral significance and the verbal expression of poetry, prose fiction and drama. After the 1770s these terms decline in popularity, tending more and more to designate theatrical, insincere and self-indulgent emotionality.
Pathetic and sensationally moving elements involving domestic relationships and distressed virtue exist in the Greek drama of Euripides, in medieval morality plays and, most obviously, in the Elizabethan and Jacobean drama of Fletcher, Heywood and Shirley. Pathos resulting from the sudden intrusion of the child-and-parent tie is aroused in …
Todd, Janet. "Sensibility". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1003, accessed 27 April 2017.]