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Body and soul, love and murder in 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

Gilchrist, M. (2000) Body and soul, love and murder in 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'. Thomas Hardy Yearbook, 28 . pp. 52-70. ISSN 0082-416X

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Publisher's URL: http://www.toucanpressguernsey.com/

Abstract

One of Hardy’s early titles for 'Tess of the d’Urbervilles' was 'The Body and Soul of Sue'. The novel pushes the “deadly war waged between flesh and spirit” to the centre stage. Each of the main characters is in some way caught between these polarities, and between world-views which can broadly be defined as ‘Christian’/‘Pauline’ and ‘Pagan’. Hardy subverts the sexual stereotypes of nineteenth-century popular fiction and exposes the damage wreaked upon women and men alike by ‘Christian’ morality and its hostility towards human sexuality. The characters struggle to resolve the physical/spiritual schism as individuals and in their relationships. This dualism lies deep within Western culture, tearing it and the characters’ lives apart.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Tess Durbeyfield, Angel Clare, Alec D'Urberville, Paganism, Christianity, religion, sexuality, body/soul, dualism, James Reeves, folksong, Cerne Abbas, symbollism, ballads
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gilchrist, Dr Marianne
Authors: Gilchrist, M.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Thomas Hardy Yearbook
ISSN:0082-416X
Copyright Holders:G Stevens Cox

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