Thomas Hardy and Desire: Conceptions of the Self

Hardcover | March 29, 2013

byJane Thomas

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At the center of Hardy's aesthetic practice is the recognition of desire as a necessary and fundamental condition of human existence. Yearning, disappointment, frustration and loss determine the relationship of his characters and poetic personae to the world and the systems in which their sense of self is expressed and constituted. Yet his work also explores the positive, dynamic and productive dimension of desire. Structured around the themes of home and homelessness; eroticism; Poor Men, Ladies and social aspiration; the transgressivity of cross dressing; the creation of "sapphic spaces;" aesthetic desire and its fulfilment in the achieved work of art, Thomas Hardy and Desire demonstrates Hardy's commitment, as an artist in pursuit of "a way to the better," to exploring how the energy of desire pushes beyond the boundaries of class, sexuality, gender and even language itself to bring new ways of being and doing into the realm of knowledge.

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At the center of Hardy's aesthetic practice is the recognition of desire as a necessary and fundamental condition of human existence. Yearning, disappointment, frustration and loss determine the relationship of his characters and poetic personae to the world and the systems in which their sense of self is expressed and constituted. Yet...

JANE THOMAS is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Hull, UK and has published widely on Thomas Hardy, Victorian Literature, art and sculpture and contemporary women writers. Her publications include Thomas Hardy, Femininity and Dissent: Reassessing the 'Minor' Novels and editions of The Well-Beloved and Hardy's shorter fic...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.62 inPublished:March 29, 2013Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230224636

ISBN - 13:9780230224636

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction: Hardy and Desire
House and Home: Nostalgic Desire and the Locus of the Self
Desire, Female Amity and 'Sapphic Space'
Sexual Desire and the Lure' of the Erotic
Poor Men and Ladies: Aspirational Desire
As You Like It: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Expression of Desire
Art, Aesthetics and Masculine Desire
'Scanned Across the Dark Space':Poetry, Desire and Aesthetic Fulfilment
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

'Jane Thomas has provided us with the most thoroughgoing study of Hardy and desire since J. Hillis Miller's four decades ago, and offers a wonderfully panoramic approach to the subject. Thomas uses Lacan, Butler and other thinkers, always in an approachable manner, to meditate on the fleeting, obscure and unstable nature of desire in Hardy's texts, extracting a surprising range of reference - from the impossibility of nostalgia to the sharpness of desire across class divisions; from the pleasures of cross-dressing to Sapphic desire seen as a kind of utopian space. The study ranges with assurance across Hardy's corpus, and is illuminating on both the major and minor novels and the poetry.' - Professor Tim Armstrong, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK ''Thomas's finely articulated chapters serves to take the argument forward, with exemplary attention to textual evidence and an impressive grasp of ideas . . . this is a book which makes a notable contribution to Hardy studies and one whose argument will doubtless generate further fruitful debate.'' - Hardy Journal