A Survey of Recent Hardy Studies
The Alternative Centre for Hardy Studies in Cornwall is the newest institution to nurture the talents of Hardy investigators. Sadly, however, it exists only in fiction, in Howard Jacobson’s 1984 novel, Peeping Tom. The spirit of Thomas Hardy informs Jacobson’s protagonist, Fugleman, who, scornful of writers of rural fiction and under the influence of a spritualist, becomes possessed by the young Hardy’s voice. There follows a graphic exploration of Hardy’s sexuality and the impulse of guilt and remorse upon which he thrives. Fugleman’s second wife becomes the director of the centre which investigates Peeping Tom Hardy’s private life. The Tom Hardy thus phantasmally called up from the past is, perhaps, not dissimilar to the figure conjured by some of his more imaginative biographers, and the singularly real Hardy scholar, James Gibson, even gets a small off-stage part, a typical device in this well-received novel to lend naturalistic verisimilitude to the narrative.
KeywordsHardy Study Country House English Review Dialect Word Biographical Dictionary
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