“For She Won’t Know”: Utilising the Dead

  • Galia Benziman


In “Mourning and Melancholia” Freud defines healthy mourning as grief directed towards the lost one, not towards the grieving subject; the latter indicates melancholia. No clear-cut separation between the two states appears in Hardy. His work suggests that what social consensus considers unselfish—deep grief for the dead—is no less egocentric than leaving the dead behind. Mourning is of necessity always mixed with the desires of the survivor. While lamenting the dead, the mourner may also utilise their remains, exploit them for emotional or financial interests or replace them by another, hence efface them. The substitution of the dead, as in The Well-Beloved, is parallel to what we observe in the animal world, hence, by a post-Darwinian outlook, it is both erasure and a means of preservation.

Works Cited

  1. Abraham, Nicolas, and Maria Torok. 1994. “Mourning or Melancholia: Introjection versus Incorporation.” In The Shell and the Kernel: Renewals of Psychoanalysis, trans. and ed. Nicholas T. Rand, vol. 1, 125–138. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, J.O. 1970. The Poetry of Thomas Hardy: A Handbook and Commentary. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, Brandon. 1993. “Hardy’s Noble Melancholics.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 27 (1): 24–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Federico, Annette. 2007. “Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved: Love’s Descent.” English Literature in Transition 50 (3): 269–290.Google Scholar
  5. Freud, Sigmund. 1966–1974. “Mourning and Melancholia.” In The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. and ed. James Strachey, vol. 14, 1914–1916, 243–258. London: Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hardy, Thomas. 1891. A Group of Noble Dames. New York: Harper and Brothers.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1977. The Mayor of Casterbridge. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1985. The Return of the Native. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1993. Far from the Madding Crowd. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1994. The Woodlanders. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1997. The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved and The Well-Beloved. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1999b. Wessex Tales. London: Wordsworth.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 2001. The Complete Poems. Edited by James Gibson. Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2002. Life’s Little Ironies. London: Wordsworth Classics.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2003. Desperate Remedies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2012. Two on a Tower. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  17. Johnson, Suzanne. 1993. “Metamorphosis, Desire, and the Fantastic in Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Withered Arm.’” Modern Language Studies 23 (4, Autumn): 131–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Karschay, Stephan. 2011. “Pre-destined to Fail: Atavism and Character Development in Late Victorian Fiction.” In From the Cradle to the Grave: Life Course Models in Literary Genres, ed. Sabine Coelsch-Foisner and Sarah Herbe, 177–191. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag.Google Scholar
  19. Kennedy, David. 2007. Elegy. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Kim, Donguk. 2014. “Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved: A ‘Ghost’ Story.” College Literature 41 (3, Summer): 95–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Laqueur, Thomas. 1983. “Bodies, Death, and Pauper Funerals.” Representations 1: 109–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Levinas, Emmanuel. 1990. Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism. Translated by Seán Hand. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Sacks, Peter M. 1987. The English Elegy: Studies in the Genre from Spenser to Yeats. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Shaw, Marion. 2012. “Hardy and Tennyson: Poets of Memory, Loss and Desire.” The Thomas Hardy Journal 27 (Autumn): 10–26.Google Scholar
  25. Shelley, Percy Bysshe. 1927. Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats. New York: Payson and Clarke.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 1988. “An Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte.” In Shelley’s Prose, or The Trumpet of a Prophecy, ed. David Lee Clark, 162–169. New York: New Amsterdam Books.Google Scholar
  27. Spargo, Clifton R. 2004. The Ethics of Mourning: Grief and Responsibility in Elegiac Literature. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Tennyson, Alfred. 1973. In Memoriam A. H. H.: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism. Edited by Robert H. Ross. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  29. Thomas, Jane. 1999. Thomas Hardy, Femininity and Dissent: Reassessing the ‘Minor’ Novels. Houndmills: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. ———. 2013. Thomas Hardy and Desire: Conceptions of the Self. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tucker, Herbert F. 2012. “At the Bottom Line: How Hardy Tries Conclusions.” Hardy Review 41 (2): 18–31.Google Scholar
  32. Vickery, John B. 2009. The Prose Elegy: An Exploration of Modern American and British Fiction. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations