Thomas Hardy: Folklore and Resistance

  • Jacqueline Dillion

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Jacqueline Dillion
    Pages 1-33
  3. Jacqueline Dillion
    Pages 71-92
  4. Jacqueline Dillion
    Pages 93-118
  5. Jacqueline Dillion
    Pages 119-142
  6. Jacqueline Dillion
    Pages 143-171
  7. Jacqueline Dillion
    Pages 172-177
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 178-206

About this book


This book reassesses Hardy’s fiction in the light of his prolonged engagement with the folklore and traditions of rural England. Drawing on wide research, it demonstrates the pivotal role played in the novels by such customs and beliefs as ‘overlooking’, hag-riding, skimmington-riding, sympathetic magic, mumming, bonfire nights, May Day celebrations, Midsummer divination, and the ‘Portland Custom.’ This study shows how such traditions were lived out in practice in village life, and how they were represented in written texts – in literature, newspapers, county histories, folklore books, the work of the Folklore Society, archival documents, and letters. It explores tensions between Hardy’s repeated insistence on the authenticity of his accounts and his engagement with contemporary anthropologists and folklorists, and reveals how his efforts to resist their ‘excellently neat’ categories of culture open up wider questions about the nature of belief, progress, and social change.


Thomas Hardy British Literature American Literature Folklore Anthropology Victorian Anthropology Folk Culture Folklore Culture Dorset Apotropaic Objects Ritual Year Belief Customs Magic Sympathetic Magic Evil Eye

Authors and affiliations

  • Jacqueline Dillion
    • 1
  1. 1.Pepperdine UniversityMalibuUSA

Bibliographic information