Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions

Ferguson, Trish (2013) Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions. Edinburgh Critical Studies in Victorian Culture . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. ISBN 9780748673247

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Abstract

This title explores Thomas Hardy's engagement with Victorian legal debates in his prose fiction. Thomas Hardy's fiction is examined in this book in the context of the seismic legal reforms of the nineteenth century as well as legal discourse in the literature of the era. The book examines the ways in which Hardy's role as a magistrate and his interest in the law impacted fundamentally on his prose fiction. It demonstrates that throughout his prose fiction Hardy engages with contentious legal issues that were debated by legal professionals and literary figures of his day. It also argues that Hardy used fiction as a forum to question the extent to which legal reform improved the lives of women and the working classes. The study looks at the ways in which Hardy deployed criminal plots derived from sensation fiction and reveals that the genre's engagement with legal reform influenced not only his sensation novel Desperate Remedies (1871) but also the plots of his subsequent fiction. It offers a reinterpretation of Thomas Hardy's work in the light of a detailed study of his legal interests and his use of contemporary legal cases and debates in his prose fiction. It provides detailed textual analysis of a wide range of legal interests in Hardy's entire output of fiction. It draws on the interdisciplinary study of Law and Literature. It examines Hardy's fiction in the context of other Victorian literature concerned with legal issues, particularly sensation fiction.

Item Type: Book
Keywords: Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928 — Criticism and interpretation. Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928 — Knowledge — Law. Legal stories, English — History and criticism. Law in literature. Lawyers in literature.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Susan Murray
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2013 10:21
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2013 10:21
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/188

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