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Title: Recovering the rural : form, dialect and society in the poetry of Thomas Hardy
Author: Hawkins, Heather
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 4154
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2018
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In this thesis I identify the limited research into Hardy's use of dialect and metre in his poetry. I argue that critics assume a narrow textual approach that disregards Hardy’s broad thematic, linguistic and metrical range. To redress this anomaly, I propose a broader critical methodology which reflects and accommodates the multi-faceted nature of Hardy's poems. I employ a combination of post-colonialism and textual criticism to place Hardy's work in its socio-historic and textual contexts. Intrinsic to this study is an acknowledgement of the cultural and linguistic disparities between Victorian social classes and the cultural subjugation of the rural labouring class by the middle and landowning classes. I conduct an examination of Victorian prosodic and philological debates in relation to Hardy's poetry. I demonstrate that Hardy was familiar with these debates and fuses standard poetic devices and language with the non-standard devices and dialect of his native rural culture. In doing so, Hardy proposes the equality of rural and urban cultures in order to reclaim rural culture from the subjugation of the dominant urban centre. I propose that this fusion reflects increasing nineteenth- century urbanisation and renders rural culture inherent to Victorian social evolution. Conversely, I consider whether Hardy's fusion of cultures articulates growing anxiety expressed by Victorian liberals regarding the morality and maintenance of the British empire. I argue that the increased Victorian interest in philology indicates a middle-class desire to return to pre-imperial identities. I demonstrate that Hardy's poetry assumes an anti-imperialist stance in which he contends that all empires fail and result in the loss of imperial identities. His migration poems provide a detached view of society in which non-fixation of identities becomes possible. My multi-theoretical stance permits Hardy's multi-cultural understanding of society, which he articulates through dialect and standard English, and speaks for all mankind.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available