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Thomas Hardy's use of regionalism in his novels. Bergbusch, Martin Luther T.

Abstract

This study was prompted by the belief that the importance of the regionalism in Thomas Hardy's novels has been overlooked by recent critics and that no comprehensive study of the effect of regionalism on his novels has been made. A main purpose of this thesis is to examine Hardy's method of adapting his region to his universal themes. The second chapter illustrates Hardy's connection with Wessex and the influence of the region upon Hardy's conception of the novel, his style, his range as a writer, his temperament, and his philosophy. The third chapter considers his themes, and, concluding that they are mainly universal in nature, studies his method of giving universality to his setting and characters. It also contains an examination of Hardy's only regional theme - the agricultural theme. The fourth chapter considers the relationship between universal causes and regional causes in the plots of the Wessex novels and concludes that Hardy is a true regional writer, not only because his characters depend for their living upon the region, but also because many of his plots turn around regional characteristics. A study of the three classes of characters - the outsiders, the major regional characters, and the rustics - in relation to the region and the universe completes this consideration of Hardy's use of his region in his novels.

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