Machinations versus mechanization: Desire in Thomas Hardy’s “On the Western Circuit”

Ferguson, Trish (2017) Machinations versus mechanization: Desire in Thomas Hardy’s “On the Western Circuit”. The Hardy Review, 19 (2). pp. 61-70. ISSN 1934-8908

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Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Thomas Hardy’s reading included articles and reviews published in Mind: a Quarterly Review of Philosophy, a publication that provided a forum for debate on contemporary issues in philosophy and psychology. In the wake of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, these disciplines explored questions related to the role played by evolution in our existence and the nature of human emotions. This paper argues that in ‘On the Western Circuit’ Hardy examines desire in the context of debates over free will and determinism, positing that desire places humankind in a conundrum that involves both loss of an individual’s volition and also an increased need to exert free will to secure the object of desire. This paper will also contend that in ‘On the Western Circuit’, Hardy uses regulatory systems, such as the law, to explore the possibility of containing and managing desire, also considering the act of writing itself as a potential tool through which desire can be analysed and controlled.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Thomas Hardy, On the Western Circuit, Desire, volition, philosophy, psychology, free will, determinism, evolutionism
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Trish Ferguson
Date Deposited: 29 May 2018 10:34
Last Modified: 29 May 2018 13:26

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