The study is an authoritative guide to the development of anthropology during the nineteenth century, particularly as it affected Hardy's home county, which was rich in archaeological remains and vanishing superstitions. In Hardy noted.
Thomas Hardy and Desire: Conceptions of the Self - Jane Thomas - Google книги
Radford Radford's study downplays, however, a third element, which was Hardy's sense of allegiance with primitive modes of thought and feeling. A few pages later, Radford touches on this issue again. The signs are that, from The Return of the Native onwards anyway, Hardy read widely in contemporary anthropological writing and had, as Radford illustrates so often and so well, particular instances of observed, primitive behaviour in mind in his novels. Radford spends less time considering how Hardy's writing might relate to or be a response to the contradictions that Radford uncovers in the anthropology Hardy read so eagerly.
Guy Davidson found something similar in Hardy's relation to Tess and T. Wright agrees.
Le Pessimisme de Thomas Hardy
There can be no doubt that this novel. But it is the enigmatic and ultimately undecidable quality of Tess herself which continues to challenge and provoke its readers. Wright has looked more carefully than anyone previously into Hardy's reception at the hands of professional reviewers and his contemporary audience more widely, considering through that inquiry not only the rise and fall of Hardy's reputation but the kinds of negotiation that were being conducted between writer and readership during Hardy's lifetime. The defiance of condescension that marks Hardy's moments of hostility towards anthropology can be found again in Hardy's defiance of expectation.
Nonetheless, throughout the career, Wright finds Hardy reluctantly obeying conventions in order to succeed, while undercutting them as much as he dared and gradually daring to do more as he became better established. Wright brings to that account of Hardy new primary materials from reading in the Dorset County Museum and elsewhere and an unusually detailed knowledge of Hardy in America. It is a consistently illuminating and vigorous book. There's a danger, though, that this view of Hardy as it draws out the purposefulness of the texts, their satirical force and subversiveness, makes them too stable as well.
This is a similar reservation to those I have about Joe Fisher's work and Edward Neill's as well, and it has connections with wider problems in literary studies: there's something heroic and triumphant about the Hardy Neill and Fisher put forward, just as there is something too perfectly achieved in the image of Hardy that he presented himself, in his ghosted autobiography; critic and author seem reluctant to concede inconsistency or conflictedness.
It troubles the tension in his writing between disguise and denunciation. For these connected reasons, Hardy studies might benefit from more work placing him among his contemporaries. His relation to George Meredith is still understood too sketchily, for instance, and his role as something of a mentor to George Gissing and Robert Louis Stevenson remains less prominent than, say, his post First World War connections with Sassoon et al.
Likewise, though Hardy and the New Woman has been the subject of much consideration, there's less curiously on his relations with the Englishness of the late nineteenth century. Ebbatson's Imaginary England  is an exciting exception to this rule. Still, there's no equivalent yet to Elizabeth Helsinger's Rural Scenes and National Representation: Britain, — that would cover the second half of the century. For related reasons, perhaps, Hardy's career as a poet has been less fully charted than his achievement.
Still, the myth has not yet been exploded that Hardy wrote a thousand poems and they were all the same. His pitch in all senses differs remarkably between, for instance, Poems of the Past and the Present and Moments of Vision ; the war poetry in both collections is clear evidence of that. Likewise, there's little on the short stories and less on the collections of stories as works in themselves. Specifically, Hardy's illustrations deserve renewed study.
It would be excellent to see The Graphic version of Tess and the Harper's New Monthly Magazine version of Jude , Hearts Insurgent reprinted in facsimile with the illustrations, so that text and image could be analysed alongside textual changes. Volume 4 , Issue 1.
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Thomas Hardy, Femininity and Dissent
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