"Sentimental Education" is considered one of the most influential novels of the 19th century, being praised by contemporaries George Sand, Emile Zola, and Henry James. The novel describes the life of a young man (Frederic Moreau) living through the revolution of 1848 and the founding of the Second French Empire, and his love for an older woman. The characters of "Sentimental Education" are marked by capriciousness and self-interest. Frederic, the main character, is originally infatuated with Madame Arnoux, but throughout the novel falls in and out of love with her. Furthermore, he is unable to decide on a profession and instead lives on his uncle's inheritance.