Year

2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)

Department

School of English Literatures and Philosophy

Abstract

This study will investigate the relations to liberal feminism of Thomas Hardy’s novels Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). I argue against those who believe Tess and Sue are victims, introducing them as proto-feminists by reading these two novels along with John Stuart Mill’s liberal feminist arguments. This study is consolidated by demonstrating how Hardy’s tragic novelistic form in these two works is connected to feminist content. The death of the female protagonists shows the difficulty of accommodating liberal feminist ideas within late Victorian society.

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