A Regional Approach to Hardy’s Fiction

  • W. J. Keith


To suggest that little has been written about Hardy’s regionalism may, at a first hearing, sound absurd, but if the term is used at all precisely such a statement is true. Most of the numerous studies of Hardy’s Wessex have been primarily topographical (that is, dependent upon comparison with a known landscape) or else concerned in merely general terms with the rural background. However, the qualities that identify ‘the regional novel’ are much more specific, and it is worth while considering his work in this context since, for students of regionalism in fiction, Hardy is a supremely important witness.


Critical Approach Regional Approach Rural Background Regional Series English Regional 
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  1. 1.
    Phyllis Bentley, The English Regional Novel (London: Allen & Unwin, 1941) P. 45.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F. W. Morgan, ‘Three Aspects of Regional Consciousness’, Sociological Review, XXXI (1939) 84. This seminal article on the socio-political, geographical, and literary aspects of regionalism deserves far more attention from Hardy scholars than it has received.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Morgan, p. 79. For a later account of Wessex from a geographical viewpoint, see H. C. Darby, ‘The Regional Geography of Hardy’s Wessex’, Geographical Review, XXXVIII (1948) 426–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973) P– 253.Google Scholar
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    Perhaps I should state here that I use this word rather differently from Michael Squires in his recent study, The Pastoral Novel (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974). Though Hardy’s self-conscious, semi-humorous, essentially urban stance and the specific allusions to biblical and classical pastoral are both important, it is more strictly pastoral in the literal sense of being a novel about sheep and shepherding.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© W. J. Keith 1979

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  • W. J. Keith

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