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The Decline of the Goddess: Nature, Culture, and Women in Thomas Hardy's Fiction
This timely book treats Hardy's recurring use of one of the major informing myths of Western culture--that of a collision between a solar god and an earth goddess. Stave uses a chronological examination of Hardy's Wessex novels to highlight the author's evolving consciousness of the connections among patriarchy, Christianity, sexism, and classism. From the gentle affirmati ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published June 30th 1995 by Praeger Publishers
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Read chapter on Return of the Native. I found the argument limiting because it was applied to all the novels and as the major thread in them..... The more I read about Hardy, the more difficult I think this should be. Here's her bottom line: Stave believes, “The novel ends with the collapse of the mythic world into the historical one…. Hardy is able to bring the novel full circle. It ends where it began, on the Rainbarrow, but the nature goddess, beautiful and terrible at once, has been replaced ...more
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“However, Hardy's relationship with nature is a dialectical one. While he indicates that he recognizes how human perception shapes nature, he nevertheless accepts nature as possessed of its own agency, as working through its cycle regardless of human perception, understanding, or attempted control. In essence, it claims a power apart from that with which humans may have imbued it. Even when humanity has lost faith in the possibility of renewal through nature, nature as Hardy describes it fights back, attempting to force human consciousness to acknowledge her power, her ability to transform life.”More quotes…