“Spectres that Grieve”: The Dead Speak

  • Galia Benziman


This chapter discusses Hardy’s use of the dead as speakers. Prosopopeia—or granting the dead a voice—shows the deceased as bitterly resentful, admonishing the living for misrepresenting or betraying them. Hardy underlines our inherent inability to know the dead; what gives them some power over us is their very alterity. Although prosopopeia is regarded as a form that assigns agency, Hardy’s use of this device verges on misappropriation, and the attempt to speak for the dead is often revealed as a pretentious and patronising act. Hardy shows the ultimate act of consideration on the part of the mourner-poet, his commemoration of the dead, to be also a survivor’s guilt-stricken attempt to cope with loss through self-centred mechanisms of projection and fantasy.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Galia Benziman
    • 1
  1. 1.Open UniversityRa’ananaIsrael

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