Hardys Geography: Wessex and the Regional Novel


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Eden Phillpotts. L ike many writers of his era, Thomas Hardy was drawn to a largely nostalgic, Pre-Industrial English past. His creation of the fictional Wessex illustrates his desire to preserve English pastoral practices in a literary form for future generations.

The creation of the Wessex region enabled Hardy to illustrate the Dorset of his youth on a grander, mythological scale. As the author himself observes:. The series of novels I projected being mainly of the kind called local, they seemed to require a territorial definition of some sort to lend unity to their find…I believe I am correct in stating that, until the existence of this contemporaneous Wessex in place of the usual counties was announced…it had never been heard of in fiction and current speech.

Thomas Hardy's Wessex

The formation of fictional Wessex had its roots in Medieval English history; indeed, Hardy asserted that Wessex was based on the six counties that composed the old kingdom of West Saxon. Because of its provincialism, Wessex acts as a sort of foil to the rapidly industrialized England of the late 19th century—the region is completely unscathed from the progressiveness of the late Victorian era.

In addition to preserving anachronistic English pastoral values, Wessex also enabled Hardy to articulate unique themes on the nature of the individual in society. As the critic B. However, this notion is complicated by the sheer scale of his project; through the rearticulation of local geography, Hardy succeeds in creating his own regional mythology.

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It is evident that such fantasy novelists as C. Lewis and J. Indee d, not only did Wessex preserve Dorsetian culture for generations to come, it also altered the way authors and readers alike considered topographical space in the novel. Details if other :.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Hardy's Geography by Ralph Pite. Hardy said his Wessex was a "partly real, partly dream country. Should we look for a real place corresponding to Casterbridge? What is the relation between one person's feelings for a place a "Hardy's Geography" reconsiders a familiar element in Hardy's novels: their use of place and, specifically, of Dorset.

What is the relation between one person's feelings for a place and society's view of it.

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Ralph Pite concludes that Hardy addresses these issues through a distinctive regional awareness. Get A Copy. More Details Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews.

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Hardys Geography: Wessex and the Regional Novel Hardys Geography: Wessex and the Regional Novel
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Hardys Geography: Wessex and the Regional Novel Hardys Geography: Wessex and the Regional Novel
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