Tender Consciousness studies how Sterne’s eighteenth-century model of British sentimentality is manifest in modernist
Künstlerroman. Yeats’s memoir, as well as Joyce’s and Proust’s novels, trace innate artistic growth. To show how aesthetic sensibility develops, the authors focus on the search for artistic identity through language and sensory perception, which release memory and spurs imagination, mediated by intellect. They present a childhood vision of the world by recalling character-revealing gestures and by depicting how precocious sensitivity to language signals the budding sentimental sensibility of these writers.