Exploring women’s sensibility became a staple of the novel in the Romantic period, ranging from depictions in Austen’s now famous Sense and Sensibility (1811) to those in a host of lesser-known works in which the feeling and delicacy of women is of paramount importance. Ethelinde is one such novel, but in rehearsing a well-known theme of the Romantic-period novel the text subjects the theory of sensibility to a subtle critique. Austen’s Sense and Sensibility at least in part engages with a contemporary debate which points to the sel shness that self-indulgent feeling could lead to. Smith’s novel, by contrast, emphasizes the empathy made possible by powerful feelings which permit one to experience the pains of another more acutely. In a radical turn, however, Smith argues that it is precisely the ability to emphasize which allows one to mistreat others for selfinterested motives: Ethelinde argues that feeling for others represents the most e ective method for manipulating and exploiting them.