Writing The Untimely: Thomas Hardy And The Well-Beloved
Source of Publication
Victoriographies-A Journal Of Nineteenth-Century Writing 1790-1914
Thomas Hardy's final novel, The Well-Beloved, is both structurally and thematically distinct from his previous 'Wessex novels' and has suffered critically in relationship to them. This essay argues that any consequent critical rehabilitation of this text must be predicated upon an appreciation of the late-Victorian aesthetic that the novel itself narratively portrays but equally and formally embodies. The protagonist of The Well-Beloved, Jocelyn Pierston, is examined as a failed aesthete because of his inability to realise the Ideal in his art and life. It is this disjunction between his aesthetic desire and achievement that affords the narrative moment of Hardy's novel, but the structuring of the text into three distinct 'moments' in Pierston's life is a successful formal rendition of the same aesthetic that the protagonist fails to achieve within the story.
Edinburgh University Press
Arts and Humanities
Hardy, Pater, aesthetics, Ideal, time
Fox, Paul, "Writing The Untimely: Thomas Hardy And The Well-Beloved" (2012). All Works. 5104.
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