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Thomas Hardy and sensationalism

Uehara, Sanae (1993) Thomas Hardy and sensationalism. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

Thomas Hardy launched his career as a novelist by writing a sensation story in Desperate Remedies. Although he abandoned sensationalism in the next novel, he returned to sensation elements in A Pair of Blue Eyes; and after this, he continually exploited these elements in fiction. In this thesis, seven novels covering almost the whole of his career are analysed in order to show his progress and the sensation elements which contributed to this development. Chapter 1 discusses the sensation tradition in English fiction, the sensation novel and sensationalism. Chapter 2: moves into Desperate Remedies; it examines the influence of sensation fiction on this novel. It also shows Hardy’s personal interests—his concerns for marital and sexual problems and taste for striking stories—which had much to do with his persistent employment of sensationalism. In Chapter 3: A Pair of Blue Eyes and A Laodicean are discussed. While he made good use of sensation elements in the former, he failed to do so in the latter. Chapter 4 deals with Far from the Madding Crowd and The Return of the Native. This chapter illustrates his advance: he came to develop sensation elements into useful narrative devices contributing to plot, theme or character. It also demonstrates that by means of these elements he could tackle marital problems, a theme which he expounded upon with more intensity in his later fiction. The final chapter is devoted to Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. It shows that he explored fully the marital and sexual issues he had treated with increasing fervour. He was able to do this, for by the 1890s he was extremely adept at handling sensation devices.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:55

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