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4. Treacle and Other Oddities
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the various details in Hardy’s narrative that seem to be there for no reason at all—the description of treacle as it runs down Car’s back, the description of Tess as a fly on a billiard table, of the imagery of the men’s buttons flashing in the sun as they stack up sheaves of the wheat in the fields. While these moments do nothing to advance the narrative, it is argued, there is something to be said for Hardy the poet’s enjoyment of arresting details.
In this course, Ms Karen Hewitt (University of Oxford) explores Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. As we move through the course, we think about the social context of the novel—particularly Victorian ideas about female sexuality—and the ways in which Hardy approached, evaded and dealt with these problems in his early portrayal of Tess. After that, we think about Hardy’s poetic imagery, the way he sees the world, his attitudes to nature and man’s impact on the world around him, before ending with religion and the meaning of life—particularly the response of Tess and those around her of what Tess calls “the ache of modernism”.
A tutor in Literature at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Karen Hewitt MA, MBE (Oxon) teaches regularly at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, and also in Russian universities. She has written books and edited anthologies on English Literature including Understanding English Literature.
Cite this Lecture
Hewitt, K. (2018, August 15). Hardy: Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Treacle and Other Oddities [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/hardy-tess-of-the-d-urbervilles/treacle-and-other-oddities
Hewitt, Karen. "Hardy: Tess of the D'Urbervilles – Treacle and Other Oddities." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/hardy-tess-of-the-d-urbervilles/treacle-and-other-oddities