Aftercourses: Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure

  • Marlene Springer


Hardy came of artistic age with The Return of the Native, and by this sixth novel had thoroughly learned the technique of allusion. But a study of Hardy would seem incomplete without some investigation of the final results of the long process of stylistic honing, without a look at his two final great novels, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure.1 By The Return, most key character traits were in place, and he continually intensified them: Eustacia’s sexuality becomes Tess’s passion; Thomasin’s virginity, Sue’s frigidity; Wildeve’s propositions, Alec’s rape; Clym’s asexuality, Angel’s devastating priggishness; and Jude’s dual nature has remnants of both Wildeve and Clym. Technique still complements content, as Hardy allusively elevates his prose, dignifies his plots, and undermines his characters.


Minor Character Father Time Idol Worship Pretty Face Jude Discussion 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    J. T. Laird, The Shaping of ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ (London, 1975). See especially 190 ff. See also Mary Jacobus, ‘Tess’s Purity’, E1C, xxvi (October 1976) 318–38.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy: 1840–1928 (London, 1962) p. 240.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    W. R. Rutland, Thomas Hardy: A Study of his Writings and their Background (Oxford, 1938) p. 240.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Roy Morrell, Thomas Hardy: The Will and the Way (Singapore, 1965) p. 32.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See Philip Mahone Griffith, ‘The Image of the Trapped Animal in Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, TSE mu (1963) 88.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Irving Howe, Thomas Hardy (London, 1967) p. 112.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    See Benjamin Sankey, The Major Novels of Thomas Hardy (Denver, 1965) p. 51.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Dorothy Van Ghent, The English Novel: Form and Function (New York, 1953) pp. 208–9.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    F. B. Pinion, Thomas Hardy: Art and Thought (London, 1977) p. 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 15.
    Varley Lang, ‘Crabbe and Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, MLN, un (May 1938) 369–70.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    David J. De Laura, ‘“The Ache of Modernism” in Hardy’s Later Novels’, ELH, xxxiv (1967), especially 392 ff.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    See Robert Gittings, The Older Hardy (London, 1978), and Peter Casa-grande, Unity in Hardy’s Novels: ‘Repetitive Symmetries’ (London, 1982).Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    For a review of Hardy’s attitude towards Shelley and a list of criticism on the topic see Lennart A. Björk (ed.), The Literary Notes of Thomas Hardy 2 vols (Göteborg, 1974) pp. 357–8. Of the other four allusions to modern poetry, two are appropriately from Swinburne, another poet of ambiguous sexuality, while two are taken from Browning and used ironically.There is no discernable pattern to these clusters.Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    See R. G. Cox, Thomas Hardy: The Critical Heritage (New York, 1970) p. 236.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    D. H. Lawrence, ‘Study of Thomas Hardy’, in Edward McDonald (ed.), Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence (New York, 1972) p. 486.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    Howe, op. cit., p. 128. See also James Hazen, ‘The Tragedy of Tess Durbeyfield’, TSLL xi (spring 1969) 779–94;Google Scholar
  17. 26.
    Michael Murray, ‘The Patterns of Biblical and Classical Myth in the Novels of Thomas Hardy’, unpublished dissertation, New York University, 1972, p. 88;Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    Michael Millgate, Thomas Hardy: His Career as a Novelist (New York, 1971) p. 272;Google Scholar
  19. 26.
    James Hazen, ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Antigone’, ELT, xiv (1971) 207–15;Google Scholar
  20. 26.
    Arnold Kettle, An Introduction to the English Novel Vol. II (New York: Harper & Row Torchbooks Edition, 1960) pp. 49–62; andGoogle Scholar
  21. 26.
    Douglas Brown, Thomas Hardy (London, 1954) pp. 89–98.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    Bernard J. Paris, ‘“A Confusion of Many Standards”: Conflicting Value Systems in Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, NCF xxfiv (June 1969) 76.Google Scholar
  23. 29.
    M. D. Faber, ‘Tess and The Rape of Lucrece’, ELN, v (June 1968) 292–3.Google Scholar
  24. 42.
    J. I. M. Stewart, Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography (New York, 1971) p. 191.Google Scholar
  25. 43.
    F. R. Southerington, Hardy’s Vision of Man (New York, 1971) p. 144.Google Scholar
  26. 47.
    Ian Gregor, The Great Web: The Form of Hardy’s Major Fiction (London, 1974) p. 209.Google Scholar
  27. 48.
    For a thorough discussion of this allusion, see L. M. Findlay, ‘Horace’s “Carmen Saeculare” and Jude the Obscure’, N&Q, xxn, (October 1977) 428–30.Google Scholar
  28. 49.
    See Norman Holland’s fine article, “Jude the Obscure”: Hardy’s Symbolic Indictment of Christianity’, NCF ix (June 1954) 54. See also Walter Gordon, ‘Father Time’s Suicide Note inJude the Obscure’, NCF xxii (December 1967) 299.Google Scholar
  29. 51.
    See Lewis Home,‘“The Art of Renunciation” in Hardy’s Novels’, SNNTS Iv(winter 1972) 556–67.Google Scholar
  30. 53.
    See Frederick McDowell, ‘In Defense of Arabella: A Note on Jude the Obscure’, ELN, i (June 1964) 274–80;Google Scholar
  31. 53.
    Lascelles Abercrombie, Thomas Hardy: A Critical Study (New York, 1927) p. 31; Pinion, A Hardy Companion p. 300.Google Scholar
  32. 58.
    See Robert Heilman, ‘Hardy’s Sue Bridehead’, NCF xx (March 1966) 307–23; Michael Steig, ’Sue Bridehead’, Novel, i (spring 1968) 260–6; the book-length studies of Hardy by Albert J. Guerard (Thomas Hardy: The Novels and Stories Cambridge, 1949) and Howe (op. cit.). For a treatment of Sue in historical perspective see also my essay in What Manner of Woman (New York, 1977) pp. 124–59.Google Scholar
  33. 62.
    See Mary Jacobus, ‘Sue the Obscure’, EIC, xxv (July 1975) 320.Google Scholar
  34. 65.
    For further discussion of the parallels between Jude’s and Sue’s relationship and the couple in ‘Epiphsychidion’ see Michael E. Hassett, ‘Compromised Romanticism in Jude the Obscure’, NCF, xxv (March 1971) 440–2.Google Scholar
  35. 66.
    For a discussion of this scene and a comparison with the death of Tess’s baby see Penelope Vigar, The Novels of Thomas Hardy (London, 1974) p. 207.Google Scholar
  36. 71.
    See Ward Hellstrom, ‘Hardy’s Scholar-Gypsy’, in George Goode (ed.), The English Novel in the Nineteenth Century, ’Illinois Studies in Language and Literature’, no. 63 (Urbana, 1972) p. 204.Google Scholar
  37. 74.
    Herman Meyer, The Poetics of Quotation in the European Novel trans. Theodore and Yetta Ziolkowski (Princeton, 1968) pp. 73, 89.Google Scholar
  38. 75.
    See David Leon Higdon, ‘The Sovereign Fragments: A Study of George Eliot’s Epigraphs’, unpublished dissertation, University of Kansas, 1968, pp. 1–2, 115.Google Scholar
  39. 76.
    Lionel Stevenson, The Ordeal of George Meredith (New York, 1953) pp. 322, 62.Google Scholar

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© Marlene Springer 1983

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  • Marlene Springer

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