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Thomas Hardy: Folklore and Resistance

By (author) Jacqueline Dillion
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Published: 24th Sep 2016
Dimensions: w 146mm h 222mm d 22mm
Weight: 395g
ISBN-10: 113750319X
ISBN-13: 9781137503190
Barcode No: 9781137503190
This book reassesses Hardy's fiction in the light of his prolonged engagement with the folklore and traditions of rural England. Drawing on wide research, it demonstrates the pivotal role played in the novels by such customs and beliefs as `overlooking', hag-riding, skimmington-riding, sympathetic magic, mumming, bonfire nights, May Day celebrations, Midsummer divination, and the `Portland Custom'. This study shows how such traditions were lived out in practice in village life, and how they were represented in written texts - in literature, newspapers, county histories, folklore books, the work of the Folklore Society, archival documents, and letters. It explores tensions between Hardy's repeated insistence on the authenticity of his accounts and his engagement with contemporary anthropologists and folklorists, and reveals how his efforts to resist their `excellently neat' categories of culture open up wider questions about the nature of belief, progress, and social change.

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