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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hardy’s allusions to the visual arts : The return of the native, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the obscure Pringle, Heather Anne


This thesis is concerned with Thomas Hardy's use of visual art allusion in The Return of the Native. Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, three of Hardy's major novels in which the technique of visual art allusion is most clearly and consistently exemplified. The visual art allusions in these novels are essentially of two different types. The first, which I shall call overt allusions, explicitly name an artist, a school of art or a specific work of art. The second, which I shall call submerged, do not explicitly name an artist, a school of art or a specific work of art, but are recognized primarily by piecing together fragmentary details within a scene. Both types of allusions function both locally at the level of the individual episode to illuminate theme at that stage of the action, and, in combination, generally at the level of larger pattern, to illuminate and enrich the thematic meaning of the novel. The patterns formed by these allusions are of two different kinds as well. The first type of pattern, dependent on a central or key pictorial allusion is found in both The Return of the Native and Jude the Obscure, while the second type, not dependent on a central allusion, is found in Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The various patterns formed by the visual art allusions in each of these novels suggest that these three have in common a certain theme, the struggle of an idealistic or free spirit to reach spiritual fulfillment. The discussion of these novels in chronological order makes clear a change in attitude on Hardy's part toward this theme.

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