Thomas Hardy pp 111-135 | Cite as

Tess of the D’urbervilles

Pure Tragedy of Consciousness
  • Dale Kramer


The formal principles of the novels before Tess of the d’Urbervilles can be thought of as at once proportional and spatial; that is, they help to determine emphases within the material as the plot progresses, and they imply that significance is at least partially external to the individual. Most clearly in Far from the Madding Crowd and The Return of the Native, those principles literally define the balance and stress of passages of character delineation and such matters as the symbolic value of geographic placement on the verge or in the center of Egdon Heath. The cyclic pattern underlying The Mayor of Casterbridge encompasses the progression of the plot as well as the spatial and temporal conditions of the tragic situation, and although in a considerably more abstract manner, so does the idea of universal tragic stature in The Woodlanders, as characters alternate in assuming and abandoning the center of attention.


Psychological Phenomenon Mystical Experience Formal Principle Individual Consciousness Sexual Guilt 
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  1. 3.
    David Lodge, Language of Fiction: Essays in Criticism and Verbal Analysis of the English Novel (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul; New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 176–79.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Bert G. Hornback, The Metaphor of Chance: Vision and Technique in the Works of Thomas Hardy (Athens: Ohio Univ. Press, 1971).Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Dorothy Van Ghent, The English Novel: Form and Function ( New York: Rinehart, 1953 ), pp. 200–1.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    See J. O. Bailey, The Poetry of Thomas Hardy: A Handbook and Commentary (Chapel Hill:’ Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1970), pp. 154–55.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan 48202 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Kramer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUSA

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