This chapter introduces the problematic addressed by this volume by contextualising the object of study, the eighteenth-century’s body of sensibility, and the discourse within which this object was constructed. It was in terms of this knowing body that the persona of the eighteenth-century knowledge-seeker was constructed. This chapter has two major purposes. First, in order to situate the individual chapters in their broader intellectual context, it outlines four major components of the discourse of sensibility: vitalist medicine, sensationist epistemology, moral sense theory, and aesthetics, including the novel of sensibility. Second, this essay elaborates those general claims collectively supported by the chapters, drawing together what they contribute to questions of the emergence of the discourse, and key elements at stake within the discourse itself. Four major themes are apparent: First, this collection reconstructs various modes by which the sympathetic subject was construed or scripted, including through the theatre, poetry, literature, and medical and philosophical treaties. It furthermore draws out those techniques of affective pedagogy which were implied by the medicalisation of the knowing body, and highlights the manner in which the body of sensibility was constructed as simultaneously particular and universal. Finally, it illustrates the ‘centrifugal forces’ which were at play within the discourse, and shows the anxiety which often accompanied these forces.