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“The Essence of Individuality”

Hardy, the Regional Novel and the Romantic Legacy

Elena Rimondo    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    

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abstract

If there is a literary genre which can stand as a symbol for the Victorian Age, this is the provincial novel. Just when faster means of transport were making it possible to reach even the remotest places in Britain, and the industrial revolution was making of the modern towns the very centre of human life, many novelists established themselves on the literary scene by focusing on peripheral, remote and often backward provincial regions. This seeming paradox is all the more striking if we consider that one of the most outstanding authors of Victorian provincial literature was Thomas Hardy, one who carried this concentration on localities to extremes. Indeed Hardy’s Wessex proves to be made up of microcosms, each asserting its own peculiarities. Yet, at the same time, Hardy also distanced himself from other provincial novelists by overtly claiming that concentrating on Wessex – that tiny corner of England – did not actually involve missing universal truths. The paper investigates into this seeming paradox, focusing on Hardy’s debt to the Romantic legacy of Walter Scott and William Wordsworth on the one hand, and on the parallelism between his method and the method of the rising science of anthropology on the other hand.

Published
Sept. 30, 2016
Accepted
June 21, 2016
Submitted
April 9, 2016
Language
EN

Keywords: Walter ScottThomas HardyRegional novelRomanticismWilliam Wordsworth

Copyright: © 2016 Elena Rimondo. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.