Sexuality and System in Thomas Hardy: The Affirmation of Experiential Over Moral Truth
Helscher, Thomas Patrick
Honors in English or Psychology?
Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Sex in literature
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This project is a psychological study of Thomas Hardy's developing attitude towards sexuality; specifically whether it could be brought into a constructive moral system, or whether the experience was fulfilling in its own right, despite being self or socially destructive. Hardy develops his concern for sexuality through the "objective correlatives" of character and landscape. The topic grew out of a close reading of Hardy's natural landscapes, which struck me as profoundly symbolic, yet finally capable of standing on their own as concrete descriptions. This natural world demonstrates Hardy's radical subjectivism; in it he makes psychological explorations. . . . The characters themselves are psychological phenomena; they reflect Hardy's growing concern for the self and its struggle against the systems which seek to limit its sexual expression. The novels chosen for this study show striking similarities and argue for a pattern of continuity and development of complexity in Hardy's psychological vision. [From Introduction]