CONTRADICTORY VIEWS ON A LITERARY WORK: A STUDY OF THOMAS HARDY’S TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES

Nnamdi Aloy Obika (PhD)

Abstract


From the time Thomas Hardy’s popular novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles came into existence till now, its reception has been fluctuating from absolute rejection to whole hearted acceptance. This started from the day the contract Hardy signed for its publication was cancelled because he refused to alter certain parts of the work. One wonders why Hardy in spite of his being well known has to pass through these experiences because of this novel. But on a deeper study of the work, it has been discovered that Hardy as a transitional writer between the strict and moralistic Victorian society and the more permissive era of the modern age, tries to force social changes on the Victorians. In addition, he uses the yet to be well-established social theories of naturalism and feminism where he sometimes goofs. Due to such, he receives acerbic criticisms that nearly forced him to jettison novel writing so as to concentrate only on poetry. In order to study why the novel has been vacillating between praises and denunciations, the researcher had to study the novel thoroughly and compare its content with what was obtainable during the Victorian period and the tenets of naturalism and feminism. Therefore, differences in opinion especially where he errs engender the two levels of critical studies surrounding the novel.


Keywords


Naturalism, Feminism, Victorianism, Novel, Superstition

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References


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