Jethway is the "shadowy phenomenon" accompanying Elfride and Stephen in their rendezvous. Jethway 's form is even more formidable and persistent. In church when she wishes to catch a glimpse of "the glory of the dying sun" as it falls on Knight's form, Elfride becomes arrested by the "bleak barren countenance'' of the widow Jethway, reminding her always of her innocent but flighty past. It is Mrs. Je-hway Vi. She is the Gothic veiled figure tormenting Elfride 's peace of mind on the Juliet making its way down Southampton Water, and readers are led to wonder if the determined pathetic figure really did enter Elfride 's cabin and disturb her sleep or if it were a dream fostered by Elfride 's sense of guilt for not telling Knight everything abojit her past.
Not only does he have Knight find the widow's body buried underneath the crumbling church tower, but the dramatic visits to the Luxellian vaults and to the Cliff Without a Name add to the pervasive sense of doom in Elf ride's courtships. In these passages, Hardy uses forms of the classic Gothic to enhance the interpersonal relationships of his characters. Foremost we have the Gothic splendor of the fastidious, intellectual Knight hanging by a thread off a dangerous cliff. Whether it was this event or Elfride's quick thinking which saves Knight's life that begins love to grow in the cold intellectual is only part of the drama.
Gothic characters are often caught in such death- defying circumstances, and this literal "cliff-hanger," based partly on an episode in her youth that Emma Hardy once related to her husband, typifies Hardy's use of such moments of crisis to reveal true character. Instead of thoughts of terror, the well-read and well-bred Knight lingers on thoughts of the worth of his existence over that of lower forms of life as he concentrates on a fossil. Such turning of a potentially tragic event into a 59 Er c 69 Darwinian escapade warrants one editor's noting of Hardy's turning the tragic into the ludicrous.
In chapter thirty-one Elf ride keeps the notion of death's association with the cliff alive when she refuses to return to the spot and shudders, "Death stares me in the face in the person of that cliff! Following the Gothic convention of a macabre, gloomy setting typical we might say of Maturin, Hardy stages dramatic scenes in traditionally Gothic places — a burial vault in particular.
Early on is a vault scene in which Elf ride and Stephen ironically share a seat upon the tomb of the luckless Jethway boy. When questioning Elf ride about the whereabouts of her former "lover," Elfride states that having been buried the same day Stephen first came, Felix Jethway is "under us. Hardy dramatizes the event with emotionally dramatic diction: "To Elfride the intense agony of reproach in Smith's eyes was a nail piercing her heart with a deadliness no words can describe. Elf ride's young husband Lord Luxellian sob over her coffin. All these coincidences of setting and scene add the Gothic flavor to this novel and demonstrate Hardy's incipient Gothic sensibility.
Such eittotional sensationalism is characteristic of early Gothic romances. In his March preface to A Pair of Blue Eyes Hardy foretells readers that the region in the book is the "region of dream and mystery" with ghostly birds, the pall-like sea, the frothy wind, the eternal soliloquy of -:he waters, the bloom of dark purple ;ast that seems to exhale from the shoreward precipices,. Yet, the novel is not a totally Gothic dream world turned nightmare.
It is not classic Gothic because HarCy does attempt to make Elfride's psyche and behavior "real" for his readers. It is not Hardy's creative Victorian Gothic because it lacks the subtleties of versimilitude blended with romanticism. In addition. Hardy is more interested in dramatizing Darwinian concepts of evolution and the prejudices of social snobbery in this book.
Swancourt's rejection of Stephen Smith, respectively, serving as prime examples of these themes. Still a young writer. Hardy experiments in each subsequent book, fluctuating between his own personal love of the marvelous and his artistic desire to be lifelike in his writing. In the two novels that follow A Pair of Blue Eyes, he tries comedy first and then history for his fiction. Nothing in the Gothic mode really occurs except Hardy's patterning of the self- disciplined, morally astute Gothic heroine.
While Ethelberta Petherwin becomes part of Hardy's social satire of the cultural elite and marries for convention's sake and her impoverished family's sake, she stars in a comic novel, not a Gothic one. Instead of a Gothic villain, however, she has three suitors — Festus Derriman whom she manages to outrun and outwit and two brothers, John and Robert 62 72 Loveday, the former who loves her totally and the latter who wins her heart since their childhood romance. There are no Gothic castles or crumbling towers, but only lovely landscapes to capture each scene.
The only real threat to the heroine and vj. Little Gothic is to be found in this novel or in Ethelberta. A lAODICEAH A Laodicean reminds us in many ways of the Gothic elements in A Pair of Blue Eyes , yet Hardy has added some key ingredients of the Gothic, namely a palatial estate and castle filled with intrigues from the past and owned by a beautiful, virtuous maiden, and secondly, a true devil-figure in the form of an illegitimate son. Vigar finds the storyline largely dependent on irregular patterns of chance, coincidence and deception, where the probable is sacrificed willingly for an insistence that in life anything is possible.
In this novel, though, there is little to justify our acceptance of the unexpected. While she finds the book supplied with "all the Gothic trimmings of romance and intrigue," Penelope Vigar faults the novel with lacking any background of mystery or fantasy and yet attempting to depict a "believable manifestation of reality.
That Hardy dictated it to his first wife Emma while he was ill and confined to bed merely adds to the awkwardness of the loosely drawn but extended plotline. The major Gothic trimmings in this book include secret pacts between characters to "ensnare" the heroine Paula Powers into marriage and, of course, against the backdrop of the Gothic staple - a haunted palace.
The heroine Paula Powers is unlike most of our frail and often impoverished Gothic mistresses. Forerunner of Sue Bridehead in some ways, mostly for her lukewarmness and independence , Paula has economic independence, inheriting her railroad magnate father's fortune and buying the de Stancy castle and homestead. It is this homestead and wealth, however, which bring about the types of intrigues and snares that we commonly find in Gothic romance. As with Walpole's Otranto, the haunted palace is crucial to the classic Gothic, While phantoms may not lurch out of portraits, the thirteenth-century de Stancy castle offers us a Gothic ruin, George Somerset's first view is described in classic Gothic tones: ,,,then there appeared against the sky the walls and towers of a castle, half ruin, half residence, standing on an eminence hardby, ,,,The castle was not exceptionally large but it had all the characteristics of its most important fellows.
It housed a "crypt-like hall"; a central pillar on which was reputed to have the "most hideous grotesques" of all England on its capitals and was behind locked doors. Some of the mythology and legend which relate to the castle add to its Gothic nature. Our sensible Somerset becomes trapped in a tower as did someone in the past, Wilkins, the young man who purchased the de Stancy castle from Sir William Charlotte and Captain William de Stancy 's father when he was young, ironically and mysteriously goes blind and never gets to inhabit the castle.
Thus we get further preternatural history associated with the ruin and the rationale for the building's going to ruin for so long until Paiula's arrival on the scene. Further discord is associated with the castle. Its renovation is the cause of the professional rivalry between the hero Somerset and another architect Havill, who has some part in William Dare's treachery against Paula , Moreover, there is a history, a living past so to speak, that goes along with the de Stancy mansion.
ERIC 65 75 Initially we get this Gothic sense of the intruding past with the ghostly feelings of her habitation of the de Stancy homestead, Paula is ''nouveau riche" and the living de Stancys, one of whom becomes her betrothed, remind her not so subtlely that she is the intruder. Even though William de Stancy 's father lost his family's legacy, they are still from the stocks of the landed, titled aristocracy.
We are reminded of this throughout the book, especially with the large old paintings and de Stancy portraits that adorn the walls of the de Stancy castle. It is no wonder that in realistic fashion to rid the homestead of its ghosts, Hardy has to burn the castle to the ground. The palatial de Stancy estate owned by the heroine lacks full Gothic glory without the presence of a major Gothic convention — the mysterious villain. William Dare, the illegitimate son of Somerset's rival for Paula's hand.
Captain de Stancy, is Hardy's first full Gothic devil figure. Not only do we suspect him as the mysterious arsonist of the castle at the end of the story, but throughout the book he is described much like Melville's confidence man in the book of that title. Like the Devil, Dare appears ageless and of indistinct nationality.
Havill cannot guess if he's French, English, Indian or American. All we really know about him is that he cons everyone. Like the phantom Mrs.
Two on a Tower is replete with drama, heightened emotion, secrecy, marriage annulments, visions of a ghost, unlikely coincidences, secret pacts and trysts, and an ultra dramatic ending. Fiery emotions and passions are displayed in the artificial style of the Gothic shocker. We have last-minute switches of wedding plans and instantaneous realizations of pregnancy the day of Icng leavetakings.
The emotionally wrought landscape in this novel molds itself into an unrealistic Gothic-style ending. The Gothicism of this novel lies primarily with Hardy's depiction of the emotional sensationalism of the heroine, the dark Lady Viviette. Although editor F. Pinion calls Two on a Tower not one of Hardy's more 67 77 serious novels but rather a tragi-comedy, certain passages display the overwrought diction of the Gothic of Mrs.
Radcliffe and that of Maturin. For example, when Lady Viviette Constantine, who has literally been deserted by Lord Constantine who is on an African hunting safari cuts a lock of the sleeping young Swithin St Cleeve's hair, we know this is the act of a desperately lonely and bored woman. The act is one of stealth and leads up to her undying love for the young astronomer. His presence in her tower had arisen as "an attractive intervention between herself and despair. The Gothic effects of their times together are crystal i zed in the convention of tormenting and violent weather.
Nature's "crushing mechanics" heighten the emotional intensity of their plans for a secret elopement. While these tactics were under discussion the two-and-thirty wiads of heaven continued, as before, to beat about the tower The first sensation of a resulting catastrophe was conveyed to their intelligence by the 68 78 flapping of the candle-flame against thp lantern-glass; then the wind, which hither- to they had heard rather than felt, rubbed past them like a fugitive. Swithin beheld around and above him, The dome that had covered the tower had been whirled off bodily; and they heared it descend crashing upon the trees.
Swithin stretched out his arms towards Lady Constantine, whose apparel had been seized by the spinning air, nearly lifting her off her legs. She, too, was as yet unharmed. Each held the other for a moment 5. Hardy uses such sensational diction to heighten the drama of the emotional moments between our primary characters.
The tension cf the mordant is mimicked by the apparently grotesque wind. It is as if fate in the guise of the wind agrees with Viviette's pessimistic view that " In spite of his initial response to her, and probably for the sake of their young child, he does propose a new union between them. But Hardy's flair for the Gothic takes hold now. Only thirty-five years or so of age and a new mother, Viviette dramatically dies in his arms, unable to bear the thought of such happiness.
Many critics, including Pinion, feel it is some of his best writing, most especially since he wrote more freely, not restricted by the demands of weekly serialization for "its insistent demand for events. Hardy focused more on the countryside and his theme of protest against English divorce laws and the restraints of social convention. As a "traditional pastoral, " For these reasons, and that the novel maintains a background that maintains the traditional order of the natural world, the novel is rather less of the Gothic mode of some of Hardy's previous fiction.
It is the least often read of Hardy's "great" Wessex novels, and because the impact of Gothic elements is rather limited, we have decided to discuss its relevance to our theme here rather than in the next section for "major" fiction. James F. According to Scott, the man-trap itself is reminiscent of Gothic torture engines, but becomes the symbol of man's inhumanity to man. She finds the obsolete man-trap, used by farmers from Elizabethan times to the 's to catch poachers, an appropriate symbol for the social entrapment and marital mismatches in the story itself.
The story's heroine, Grace Melfaury, for example, is "trapped" by convention and her father's desire to see her upwardly mobile socially, and she succumbs by ma? The marriage is a disaster on several fronts because Fitzpiers literally goes after the aristocratic Felice Charmond. Foremost, even though she and Fitzpiers eventually reconcile, Grace's marriage has cost her a life of love with her natural lover, Giles Winterbourne, who eventually dies from protecting Grace.
Despite the human drama involved, The Woodlanders is more 71 Er! There are, however, several minor incidents in the book which are indebted to Hardy's Gothic aesthetic. In chapter nineteen, Fitzpiers tells Grace he was "doomed" to join in their picnic, and by doing so draws from her father and the other picnic folk several ghost stories, These village tt. When Giles Winterborne asks one of the girls attempting to flee the scene of the ancient rite the cause of their flight, she responds in pure folk imagination.
It was terrible! Keeping herself away from Fitzpiers by harboring herself alone in Winterborne ' s cabin, Grace attempts to sleep during a violent wind storm, described! Here the wind takes on the. It is a rather absurd, tantastical tale based on the incompatible ingredients of a grim tragic-comic realism according to Pinion and fantasy. The hero, Jocelyn Pierston, has a vision of the love of his youth, Avice Caro hovering over her grave.
Such an image is based on the folk belief that spirits attend to their burial sites. At first he assumes the incarnation to be true, but soon learns that the ghost was really the daughter of his beloved; twenty years later, the same situation occurs, and he falls in love with the granddaughter of his first beloved. Ultimately the tale is Pierston's search for beauty and perfection; aptly so, he is an artist. Altnough the book has great insight on the idealistic, artistic quest for ultimate beauty, it is still a minor work of Hardy's that does not exhibit the sense of human tragedy or the blend of Gothic tones and realistic tones that we find in his 74 84 major novels.
Those, we contend, exhibit some of the most dominant characteristics of the classic Gothic novel blended into a subtle realism. In these major works of fiction. Hardy's novel istic verisimilitude is enhanced and not necessarily faulted by these Gothic absurdities, and we respond with both incredulity and poignant insight as to the human condition.
Hardy himself professed to be an 76 8G anti-realist in his fiction, yet he does seek to achieve the "truch" of human nature. He tells us in "The Profitable Reading of Fiction," that his concern is "an honest picture of human nature", not necessarily the day-to-day details of mundane life. He should be believed in slavishly, implicitly. In other words. Hardy firmly believes that the writer can impose the marvelous, the coincidental, the absurd on, the supposed verities of fiction. And Hardy certainly does so in both his major and minor fiction, the latter unable to achieve the tragic heights of his major novels.
Hardy asserts that realism in literature docs not have to be restricted by barriers to the imagination; the "truth" of fiction lies in the heart of the reader. In traditional Gothic romances, writers presented innocent propriety-bound maidens hounded by vicious monomaniacal villains, the unreal next to the unreal. In Hardy's minor fiction, we see the incipient development of this aesthetic by Hardy's utilizing such motifs in his fiction, the main difference being that the characters in the minor fiction lack the "vrai semblance" and tragic implications of those in the major works.
When Hardy is able to create tragedy from a poor girl's seduction and rejection by lovers, when he is able to transform a wandering peasant into a man with an indomitable will, when he is able to symbolize the threat of a storm as indicative of human turmoil, then we are able to let the barriers to our imaginations down and accept the truth of great fiction. In some of his short stories and early novels, for example, we see realism "blended" with the Gothic absurd.
Sometimes the effect is comic, and sometimes the effect is "almost, but not quite" on the mark of great literature. A heroine, for example, undergoes Gothic-like escapades: near calamities, threatened improprieties, and 78 88 victimization by others or by circumstances, yet she is never quite real for us.
Their many escapades between two attentive levers simply cannot go unnoticed time after time either by family members or by the more curious and watchful country folk. Conversely, Hardy also presents us with unrealistic, often idealistic and often grotesque characters, and Gothic stereotypes in quite realistic settings.
Instead of the Gothic aura of a threatening landscape for a hapless victim. Hardy gives us a villain, a threat - a Troy, a Wildeve, an Alec, - in realistic rural environments juxtaposed to full-bodied, complex, realistic heroines. The surrounding rural folk who comment on their masters and mistresses also provide that element of "rural realism" In either case.
Hardy's greatest fiction embodies Gothic conventions superimposed on realistic trappings, and the result is a unique form we are calling Hardy's Victorian Gothic. The point is that Hardy extends the Gothic mode by employing sojne of itj formulaic elements in his most serious and most realistic fiction. The sensationalism of his lesser works has been tempered with 79 88 the realism of his greater works, thus possibly the basis of the distinction between Hardy's major and minor fiction.
The combination of the two modes in a single fiction permits Hardy his unique place in English letters and in the development of the Gothic. Certainly, as Virginia Woolf has complained, the prose contains stylistic inconsistencies - clumsy, "bookish elaborations as well as "uncompromising sincerity" and sonorous symmetry.
For our purposes, the Gothic characteristics of the pathetic fallacy, the use of nature to to heighten the effects of terror or horror, and the histrionics of nature to dramatize further human suffering, come to fruition in Far From the Madding Crowd. Not only does the novel carry the Gothic elements of the irrationality of events and characters, but it also presents them in a pastoral setting of country realism and tradition that Hardy feared would be lost to the world.
In this novel we find the ERIC first use of the term "Wessex," an appellation Hardy "had thought to reserve to the horizons and landscapes of a partly real, partly dream-county. Far From the Madding Crowd includes much of the machinery of the Gothic with its graveyard landscapes, rural superstitions, bits of horror and threatening weather, and yet the novel's power comes from the blend of these elements in a realistic human drama where the versimilitude of Bathesheba's character and the power of natural laws direct the pulse of this fiction. It is the first representation of Hardy's successful Victorian Gothic.
The primary Gothic elements in this novel revolve around Bathsheba's developing identity. There is no question that her emotional development is the crux and primary focus of the book. She matures in the course of the story from a rather vain and headstrong young girl, impressp. That Bathesheba winds up with the noble Oak, whose character undergoes very little change in the book, adds a romantic touch to the book, but it is the ultra-romantic, sensational elements that call attention to Hardy's Gothic sensibility.
Among others these incluc'e two major sensational events - the famous storm scene and the shooting of Troy. A primary Gothic aspect to this novel includes the intertwining of natural events to human ones. Changes in Nature's mood often reflect character changes.
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Nature, like a great Gothic villain, threatens human affairs, but it is Hardy's delicate treatment of setting and character development that keeps the scene from being incredible and wholly Gothic. A look at the famous storm scene demonstrates Hardy's success. Hardy sets up the human drama of Bathsheba's love affairs against the eeriness of a late August night. The night had a sinister aspect. The moon The fields were sallow with the impure, light, and all were tinged in monochrome. The same evening the sheep trailed homeward 82 92 head to tail, the behaviour of the rooks had been confused, and the horses had moved with timidity and caution.
Thunder was imminent Like an artist who has sketched this scene many times. Hardy etches in minute detail the essence and reality of an approaching storm, including the reactions of the animals. Against the realism of nature, Hardy imposes his artistic will, and we get incident upon incident to draw up the reader's excitement. Ironically, Sergeant Troy chooses this night for the harvest supper dance and for a wedding celebration.
Fortuitously, the forty-five minutes of "thunderous footing" required for the selected tune "The Soldier's Joy" to which Bathsheba and Troy dance precedes Nature's impending "dance of death" to the immediate region. Foreshadowing still the terror and human circumstance to come. Hardy allows for a series of small natural events seen only by Oak i.
Meanwhile the faint cloudlets had flown back into the south-east corner of the sky, as if in terror of the large cloud, like a young brood gazed in upon by soma monster. Confusion is about to erupt. Four blue streaks of lightning flash, followed by the fifth "with the spring of a serpent and the shout of fiend. They appear in this eerie atmosphere as two dark forms, two shadows, working against the violence of the night. We take note of Hardy's diction. Heaven opened then, indeed. The forms of skeletons appeared in the air, shaped with blue fire for bones - dancing, leap- ing, striding, racing around, and ming- ling altogether in unparalled confusion.
With these were intertwined uldulatincj snakes of green,. Hardy stretches the pathetic fallacy to Gothic extremes and parallels the fervor of the natural events with the fervor of human sensations.
Oak and Bathsheba become transfixed by these natural terrors, and yet are saved from electrocution by Oak's rod. Gabriel was almost blinded and he could feel Bathshe- ba 's warm arm tremble in his hand — a sensation novel and thrilling enough; but love, life, everything human, seemed small and trifling in such close juxtaposition with an infuriated universe.
Hardy's Gothic sensibility is essential to the drama of the scene. We feel Oak's emotions toward this woman in the height of Nature's actions. At the end of the storm, Bathsheba confesses the circumstances under which she married Troy, and Oak works on the ricks in reverie about the "contradictoriness of that feminine heart. Hardy shows us in this novel the tragic implications of foolish human behavior and also the whims of fate and nature that affect human beings so poignantly. The grotesque, Hardy describes, as a combination of a dragon, a fiend, and a giiffin - a "horrible stone entity.
When Troy oversees the damage by the beast's jaws, he becomes distraught, as if, Hardy tells us, "his intention had been known and circumvented. He flees the village. We keep the illusion of reality of a freak accident juxtaposed to the impotence of the wily Troy v;hose every action toward Fanny Robin has been catastrophic. Realistically or unrealistically, "Something" keeps Troy from actualizing happiness. Troy's reappearance on the scene at Boldwood's Christmas party initiates the second most powerful 86 9G blending of Gothic tension and realistic human drama in the book.
Aicer his unrealistic comic reappearance as a sideshow performer dazzled by Batbsheba's beauty once again, Hardy prepares us for his final dramatic showing in the novel - his death scene. Prior to Troy's public confrontation with his unsuspecting wife, the chorus in the novel - the rustics - build up the tension in the scene by talking about the strange events surrounding Troy's original disappearance and the possibility of his return to Casterbridge. Further suspense comes when the rustics hear Boldwocd's pleading impatience for Bathsheba to arrive at his party.
Soon three of them, Smallbury, Tall, and Samway, recognize Troy's features and debate what to do in the "ticklish business" of their masters. Soon after, the party commences, and Boldwood wrests an emotional promise of marriage out of Bathsheba if Troy does not return. We hear the desperation in her acquiesence to his marriage plans. Quivering and agitated, she at last "burst out crying, 'And you'll not — press me — about anything more — if I say in five or six years? But soon, the reality of Bathsheba 's marital condition is revealed, and instead of Boldwood, she is beset by her missing spouse, Troy.
Hardy saves this 87 9 7 climactic event from total Gothic sensationalism when he frames Troy's shooting by the distraught and desperate Boldwood with straight-forward writing and simple human reactions. When Troy stands in the doorway, "there was an unearthly silence, all looking towards the newcomer. At the sound of Troy's belligerent laughter, Boldwood recognizes the villain, but as Troy turns to Bathsheba, we see her react as any "real" woman would do.
The poor girl's wretchedness at this time was beyond all fancy or narra- tion. She had sunk down on the lowest stair, and there she sat, her mouth blue and dry, and her dark eyes fixed vacantly upon him, as if she wondered whether it were not all a terrible illusion. At his touch she gives a "quick, low scream" which is followed immediately "by a sudden deafening report that echoed through the room and stupefied them all. Boldwood soon flees. These are the sensational events of classic Gothic romance, but Hardy controls the stage. Throughout the novel, from his dazzling sword display to his callous treatment of the one woman he says he truly loves to his gambling and drunken ways, Troy has been displayed as the conventional villain.
In this particular scene, his "mechanical" laugh when he enters the room and his seizure of Bathsheba's arm support this notion. Yet Hardy tempers his death. According to Vigar, "realism predominates over sensationalism," and "Hardy is no more than a reporter. There are, of course, strong elements and tendencies toward Gothic sensationalism of his earlier works, but Hardy artistically goes much further. Bathsheba is not merely a Gothic heroine, beset by forces beyond her control. Hardy develops her character more fully than that of a simple Gothic heroine, and we accept and applaud her final attachment to Oak, who, like a conventional Gothic hero maintains constancy, love, and fortitude in the face of overwhelming odds.
The rural truths of the sheep and the storm and the hay and the yokels who chorus the entire action offer us fictional realism. As one critic puts it: For the first time, the distinction between romance and reality ceases to be an artistic flaw in the unity of the novel, and the formula which counters the mundane with the incred- ible, the beautiful with the grotesque, is extended to its very theme. Far From the Madding Crowd is the start of Hardy's mature aesthetic of a Victorian Gothic mode which leads him to dramatic and yet realistic treatment of the characters, plot, and settings of his other major novels.
The novel is riddled with Gothic conventions and becomes the next prime example of what we are calling Hardy's Victorian Gothic. This novel represents rather clearly our notion of Victorian Gothic in the blending of human misery and human truth with the demonic, the macabre, and the coincidental.
Some of the Gothic staples used include: domestic situations to enhance terror and excitement the mummers' perfonriance at the Yeobrights , use of a supernatural atmosphere Guy Fawkes burnings and the predominance of night scenes , grotesque characters the Reddleman , and improbable and irrational circumstances chance meetings, missed door knockings, etc. The coincidences in the book strain readers' credulity, but somehow Hardy manages to project a powerful human drama. Rather than with the Gothic, The Return of the Native has often been critically compared to classical tragedy.
Hardy puts the setting, characters, and incidents on a tragic scale by steeping the book in classical associations. His rhetoric is grandiose. Foremost, for example, Eustacia is shown to be a goddess, a Promethean rebel, a Queen of the Night. In fact, they add to the contrast between Hardy's verisimilitude and the absurdity and use of exaggeration associated with Gothic romance.
Instead of a Gothic castle, we have the all-encompassing Egdon Heath to provide us with visions, spectres, superstitions, evil spirits, and demons. Instead of a preternatural ghost, we have a red one, Diggory Venn, the reddleman. And, foremost, the Gothic staple of a villain, of a demon, of a larger-than-life presence is accounted for in Hardy's depiction of Eustacia Vye, Promethean Rebel. Predominant throughout the entire story is Egdon Heath which sets the Gothic-like tone, atmosphere, and setting of the complex human drama that enfolds.
Intense, inexplicable, indomitable in its "Titanic form," Egdon is both a backdrop for classical tragedy and a backdrop for Gothic romance. The heath is, in fact, a major sinister force, if not a major character, that dominates the lives of the folk of Weatherbury. The Egdon was aroused to reciprocity; for the storm was its lover, and the wind its friend. It had a lonely face, suggesting tragical possibilities. According to this description, Egdon Heath carries all the mystery and dark presence of a Gothic castle; it is the site pre-eminent of the human machinations that we find in the archetypal Gothic romance novel.
Hardy has created a Gothic "ruin" out of the landscape's naturally ageless "wild face. Egdon is a "bad place to get lost in," a lesson lost on Damon Wildeve and Eustacia Vye as they attempt a nocturnal escape late in the story. It is, however, kind to those like Clym and Thomasin and Diggory Venn who accept its bounty and respect its formidable Deauty.
When people, like Eustacia, light a fire on the heath in an act of "Promethean rebelliousness," on come "foul times, cold darkness, misery and death. Black chaos comes All was unstable; quivering as leaves, evanescent as lightning. Shadowy sockets, deep as those of a death's head, suddenly turned into pits ERIC 93 of lustre; a lantern jaw was cavernous, Nostrils were dark wells; sinews in old necks were gilt mouldings; Those whom Nature had depicted as merely quaint became grotesque, the grotesque became preternatural; for all was in extremity.
What we have here is the grotesque and macabre inherent in Gothic fiction. It is as if Hardy were describing a witches' sabbath painted by Goya or evil monk3 depicted by Maturin.
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Hardy gives the heath supernatural power to create eerie grotesque creatures and monsters out of the people attending its noctural rites. Those who never learn to accept the heath find evil in its recesses, such as Eustacia to whom there were "demons in the air, and malice in every bush and bough. Diggory Venn is one of the noctural creatures of the heath and a "Mephistophelian" visitant who manages to become Egdon's ally. His is a mysterious and supernatural presence on the heath; he knows all its secrets, appears omnipotent for the human intrigues fostered in the heath, and stays omnipresent like a preternatual essence.
He knows when Eustacia is to meet secretly with Damon Wildeve on the heath or at her home with Clym Yeobright, and that Wildeve gambles away Thomasin's money. His lack of ERLC 10 4 knowledge, i. He pretty well interferes in all the private relationships between the main actors. Colored "lurid red" from his profession, his is thought a devil or ghost and is the subject of horrid dreams. A child's first sight of a reddleman was an epoch in his life. That blood- coloured figure was a sublimation of all the horrid dreams which had afflicted the juvenile spirit since the imagination began.
Hardy intentionally emphasizes Venn's mythic qualities, implying that his redness is that of a sinister devil or ghost. Hardy uses his grotesque presence in the novel as representative of that which the reader should swallow whole. He is a ERLC 95 remnant from the Dorset past and an imaginative element that Hardy does not want to lose to posterity. Next to the verities of the heath and the dark and the folk customs, Venn becomes the unbelievable character of goodness and awe. Eustacia Vye, however, is the character supreme who brings shades of Gothic romance to Hardy's pen.
She is a demon, a conjuror over Wildeve, beckoning him to her as a moth to a light. Except for her girlish fantasies and hopes of escape from the hellish Egdon Heath, she reminds us of Radcliffe's wicked abbess in Udolpho or Lewis' lovely but wicked Matilda in The Monk , Throughout the novel, Eustacia is associated with darkness, fire, and hell. First seen as a "strange phenonmenon, " Eustacia is the "queen of solitude" on the ageless heath.
Strange in her ways, she is thought by the local folk to be a witch, a term she uses to refer to herself "the witch of Endor" when she summons Wildeve to her one night. The belief in her powers of black magic are so strong that Susan Nonesuch resorts to voodoo herself by melting down a wax figurine representing Eustacia. Most of the rumors regarding Eustacia stem from her strange nocturnal behaviors and her isolation from the rest of the village.
Hardy tells us that her heedlessness of the night "betokened among other things an utter 96 10 G absence of fear. Eustacia Vye was the raw material of a divinity. She had pagan eyes, full of nocturnal mysteries. Assuming that the souls of men and women were visible essences, you could fancy the color of Eustacia 's soul to be flamelike. Thought of as a demon by the locals, she becomes for us one of the numinous spectres of Gothic romance, reminding us of the mythic past.
Hardy also treats her as a goddess. She is imperious and regal in her manner with all other characters - Wildeve, Mrs. Yeobright, and even Clym her husband. Her presence brought memories of such things as Bourbon roses, rubies, and tropical midnights; her moods recalled the lotus-eaters and The new moon behind her head, an old helmet upon it, a diadem of accidental dewdrops round her brow, would have been adjuncts sufficient to strike the note of Artemis, Athena, or Hera respectively.
Whether Artemis or Athena, Eustacia remains in the reader's imagination as someone more than life; she ERLC 97 epitomizes for him, however, the human quality of yearning. She is both goddess and pitiable humanity. Using the dark gloom of Egdon Heath , we can view her differently. Instead of a goddess, we view Eustacia predominantly as a dignified witch. David Eggenschwiler believes she is self-deluded and that the novel demands conflicting attitudes toward Eustacia.
Whether a regal queen of the nighttime or a mock-heroine, Eustacia 's preternatural perfume permeates the heath and the story with strong Gothic overtones. She is Hardy's pre-emininet Victorian witch. This novel carries less of a Gothic flare than Hardy's other major works. Except for the sensationalism of the skimmity ride, the melodrama of the threatening bull-in-the-barn episode, and the pathos of Henchard 's vision of himself in the river, the novel maintains more the mode of classical tragedy.
The few melodramatic incidents add to the tension of the storyline and for the development of the characters, but missing is the exaggerated diction and overblown rhetoric. It represents Hardy's narrative thrust into tragedy, yet unlike the previous novel, we are not in the secluded atmosphere of Egdon Heath with all its ominous tones. We do not have grotesque characters such as the Reddleman, nor do we have human moths succumbing to the flame of love.
Rather, we have human beings in the busy market town of Casterbridge sorting out their produce as well as their love lives. We have the realistic low-lives of the tavern. We also have the monumental tragic character of Michael Henchard. Like its predecessor. His predecessor does not. Eustacia has Henchard 's monumental appetite for life, but she is, in fact, only a young girl, and a selfish one at that.
Rather than Henchard, Eustacia is more easily compared to another character in The Mayor of Casterbridae — Henchard 's mistress, Lucetta, Lucetta is a dark seductress like Eustacia who draws both the man of reason, Donald Farfrae, and the man of passion, Henchard, to her side; sexuality is their drawing card. Furthermore, Eustacia lacks a quality of character that would engage readers' sympathies, Henchard, on the other hand, is a mature man whose story Hardy subtitles as one of "a man of character," His persona engages us, and our concern is unlike that for a character found in a Gothic sensation novel, Gothic conventions are barely used in this novel, the one staple from Mrs, Radcliffe being the white virgin figure in Elizabeth Jane, whom we feel is a passive, colorless creature.
She "earns" the level-headed white knight Donald Farfrae, yet her "victory" does not grab us with the intensity of a Gothic romance. This novel also lacks some of the flair of the Gothic from its semi-historial basis. The Mayor of Casterbridae was Hardy's tenth novel, written when he was in his middle forties. Although Frederick R. While implausible events. ERIC frequent coincidences, and abundant unluckv circumstances substantiate Hardy's unique "anti-realism, " they do not detract from the tight plot structure and unsentimental story of this impulsive, superstitious man.
In spite of his grotesque acts — selling his wife, mistreating Elizabeth Jane, and jealously raging against Farfrae — Henchard maintains his heroic stature. Like Shakespere's Lear and Sophocles 's Oedipus, he is blinded by his own passions. Nonetheless, Hardy avoids a Gothic excess of feeling through controlled diction. Henchard may be superstitious, but the supernatural does not override his imagination or the plot. Even in his moments of greatest despair, the prose is tight. Upset about finding out that Elizabeth Jane is not ' is own child, Henchard merely "looked out at the night as at a fiend.
He remains isolated throughout the novel. The most melodramatic element of Gothicism in the book comes during Henchard 's comtemplation of suicide after he has lost his position, his good name, and his "adopted" daughter. Even here H rdy describes him as under the cloud of fatalism, not under the control of a ERLC malevolent Gothic curse.
But hard fate had ordained that he should be unable to call up this Divine spirit in his need. Such rationalization is not that of a Gothic character; rather Henchard feels that he is in "Somebody's" hands. The action of ERIC the story pulses from Henahard's irrational behaviors and supports the "fairy tale" atmosphere surrounding the narrative. Tt takes Hardy's next major novel to bring all the realistic and romantic elements together to blend into Hardy's special Victorian Gothic.
It is filled with the folklore, pagan ritual, primitive rites, coincidences, darkness of tone and atmosphere, and haunting legends found in classical Gothic romance and in Hardy's own imaginative background. In truth, Tess is the work of fiction that inspired this thesis. So much of the novel patterns itself around the classical Gothic romance.
The entire tale is filled with the background of Hardy's native Dorset folk primitivism, fatalism and magic, and he fully uses the artifice of accident and coincidence as elements of the grotesque and of the supernatural embedded behind the folk traditions of his native countryside. Tiosv svery aspect of the tragic story. They complement its realism and naturalism. Tess's journey from innocence to experience denotes her as what Ian Gregor calls "a daughter of her age. Changes in Victorian economics also affected her, and one could say that in actuality her misfortunes are economic ones.
Furthermore, the Gothic conventions and folk traditions "are peculiarly suited to the story of a woman vitimised by the dual standards of nineteenth-century morality. Because Hardy blends the stark realism of Tess's plight and that of the surrounding countryside with the more sensational romantic conventions of classical Gothic literature popular over a century ago for over forty years, we have chosen the term Victorian Gothic to capture the essence of Hardy's unique achievement. It suggests a romantic literary mode that searches into the dark recesses of the imagination as well as one that appeals with its verisimilitude, realism, and social concerns to a Victorian readership.
The result is not merely Hardy's idiosyncratic artistic vision and style, but also a unique form of Gothic fiction.
In Tess we have the Gothic absurd juxtaposed to harsh naturalistic realism. On the same landscape that we find a poor girl walking for miles across the barren Flintcombe Ash to beg for some financial assistance from her in-laws, we also find a devil figure making her swear on a pagan stone, a macabre ritual found frequently in the sensation fiction of the early and middle 's. Prior to this episode, the same figure appears satanically in a vegetable garden in which Tess labors rather unromantically; this scene is followed by a similar one later in the novel when the garden is now superseded by a post-industrial threshing machine driving on the humble beauty.
Instead of one devil, she is now between two, one a man, one a machine. Our realistic heroine suffers from her own short sightedness and innocence and from supernatural omens and curses. From the Victorian present she is swooped back into the mythic pagan past unable to thwart the fate that Hardy and the President of the Immortals has in mind for her. We respond to her with pathos and compassion. The Gothic conventions Hardy uses to dramatize her plight increase the effect of her moral and social isolation in the harsh environments in which she lives. Although the critical tendency has been to dismiss these Gothic elements, especially the coincidences and mischances, they do not detract from Hardy's fatalistic vision of the state of man.
In Tess as in the other major works, we have the Gothic absurd in a realistic, naturalistic setting. We have a Gothic villain and a morally pious knight involved with our budding, struggling womanhood who must struggle against both characters. In many ways Tess can be seen as the innocent Gothic heroine — Hardy does subtitle the novel "A Story of a Pure Woman" — but because of the depth of her suffering from outside forces and from her own human limitations, she achieves a poignant reality.
She is capable of pain, guilt, delusion, fortitude, perversity, idealism, and courage — the qualities of a tragic heroine. As a Victorian heroine, she must withstand the victimization of "unfair standards of morality which condemn m a woman behaviour condoned m a man. The novel is the epitome of Hardy's Victorian Gothic as we have defined it. Thomas Hardy replies to critical revievars that "a novel is an impression.
Stylistically, it is filled with Gothic elements: ghosts; grotesque figures; animated portraits; eerie and threatening landscapes; as well as "sympathetic" houses, settings and weather. The plot is highly contrived, full of awkward coincidences. As in archetypal Gothic fiction, Tess is the "pure" female who must fight for her virtue and true natural self against austere male domination throughout the book.
Like an archetypal Gothic heroine, Tess herself undergoes an emotional and trying battle of her mind between dreamy illusion and reality, creating, too, the murky atmosphere upon which Gothic ficfcion thrives. The landscapes she traverses throughout the book all present an unstable, hazy, threatening environment, the usual ERIC accompaniment to a Gothic tale.
Hardy's use of Gothic conventions with which he and the Victorian literary world were very familiar sensitizes his readers, often by contrast, to the realistic and rather caustic social forces and changes occurring in the English countryside during the latter part of the nineteenth century. In addition, the Gothic tradition offers us a way to view Hardy's dramatic literary style. It answers the stylish problems of Hardy's prose narratives and alerts us to his fundamental artistic sensibility. Although it would be hyperbole to classify it as a predominantly Gothic novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles contains romantic, Gothic strains which offer us further insight into Hardy's dramatic purposes in the book.
Tess demonstrates Hardy's Gothic sensibility which in turn enables readers to sympathize with the heroine, accept the often cumbersome coincidences of plot, and get swept away by the dramatic pulses of the narrative itself. In her reference guide to women's Gothic and Romantic fiction, Kay Mussel 1 describes the heroes and heroines and villains of Gothic fiction, emphasizing their sexual roles and search for love: Women are cast as victims in a man's world, but through the demonstration of feminine virtues, the victim proves herself worthy of salvation through the love of the hero, who becomes her deliverer from the terrors that beset her.
Carole Ann Howells finds the Gothic heroine and "idealized image of beauty Because of his lack of propriety and common sense, she must offer to bring their beehives to market whereby upon the accidental death of Prince, she takes on full moral responsibility for her family's welfare.
Out of their scanty protection, sixteen-year o3d Tess falls prey to Alec Stoke-D'Urberville's lust and dominance. Superficially, her suffering and deprivation after their marriage has made her "worthy" of his love. It is important to note here that although Tess can be likened to the usual Gothic heroine, she is much, much more. She is physically violated by Alec, the villain figure. The depth of her emotions and thought lends itself more toward realism than romanticism, although the romanticsim and idealism we find in this novel are often part of the character's own psyche; she dares to hope that someone pristine like Angel will love her and remove her from the threats of the outside world.
She is however, cruelly mistaken.
Her tragedy is realistic. Additionally, though he presents her with realistic sentiment. Hardy also presents Tess with Gothic overtones. Like a Gothic heroine, she must submit to her father's foolish tyranny, a lover's physical abuse, and her husband's moral rage. It is her sexuality that initiates her moral troubles; it is her female sex which sets her at the mercy of masculine abuse.
The emphasis on the sexual relationship of Gothic heroes and heroines is central to the understanding. Application of Freudian psychology to this literature indicated that Gothic romances were the "suppressed neurotic and erotic impulses of educated society. When a virtuous young lady, like Tess for example, is being harassed by her father. Thomas Hardy. Poems by Thomas Hardy. Related Content. More About this Poet. Region: England. Poems by This Poet Related Bibliography. And There Was a Great Calm. At Lulworth Cove a Century Back.
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- Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 developers handbook;
- Thomas Hardy and Censorship of His Works Essay;
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- Monsignor Quixote.
- SearchWorks Catalog?
The Convergence of the Twain. The Darkling Thrush. The Dead Man Walking. During Wind and Rain. The Echo Elf Answers. England to Germany in The Haunter. How She Went to Ireland. I Looked Up from My Writing. In Tenebris. The Last Performance. The Man He Killed. The Masked Face. Men Who March Away. Neutral Tones. No Buyers. On the Belgian Expatriation. The Oxen. The Phantom Horsewoman. The Pity of It. Rain on a Grave. The Ruined Maid. The Self-Unseeing. The Shadow on the Stone. The To-be-forgotten. The Voice. Show More. Christmas Poems. Classic and contemporary poems for the holiday season.
Read More. Winter Poems. Perfect for snowy days and long nights by the fire. Love Poems. Classic and contemporary love poems to share. From Audio Poem of the Day May By Thomas Hardy read by Michael Stuhlbarg. By The Editors. Shadow of a Doubt. From Poetry Off the Shelf June