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182 FOREIGN REPORT: RECENT WORK ON HARDY IN JAPAN By Minoru Oda (Fukuoka University of Education) Many studies on Tess and Jude have been published since Thomas Hardy was first introduced to Japan in the Meiji Era by the Japanese pioneers of English literature, and some of the most distinguished works are described in the recently published Thomas Hardy: Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him, Vol 2, edited by Eugene Davis and Helmut E. Gerber . A conspicuous increase in research materials has opened up many possibilities for new, ambitious approaches to Hardy. Thanks to this marked improvement in academic conditions, not only his major but his minor novels are often taken up by those who seek zealously to shed light on yet unexplored aspects of Hardy's fiction. The present Hardy scholarship of this country, however, turns to his major far more frequently than to his minor novels, and of these Tess and Jude still awaken the most striking interest. Tess is full of contradictions, the most notable being the catastrophe of the heroine's murder and punishment, which occurs in the phase titled "Fulfilment." Tess, who endures suffering, is punished as a murderess. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles e_ rio Henbo (From Ur-Text to Tess of the d'urbervilles), Journal of Tsuda College, No. 12 (1980), Kyoko Ono presents a convincing solution to this problem by conducting a systematic inquiry into those corrections and changes which can be traced between the Ur-Text of 1888 and the final edition of 1912. Directing her keen attention to Hardy's study of Weismann's Essays on Heredity, Ono argues that he must have hit upon "the idea of introducing the theory of heredity" and tried to "justify Tess's murder" by making her blood take the responsibility for the crime. This may have been "the main cause of rewriting the opening scene, which entailed many other changes in plot, theme, imagery and characterization." Through a close dissection of the Ur-Text and the final edition, Ono completes a successful diagnosis that in "linear time" Tess is "a victim of heredity," while in "cyclic time" she is metamorphosed into "a being standing aloof from morals" through her assimilation with nature. Liza-Lu is interpreted as a personification of her sister's soul which survives like an object of nature in the cyclic process of life, death and rebirth. No less noteworthy is Ono's concluding statement that Tess is "a Zolaesque heroine of the 19th century," a victim of circumstances, while remaining at the same time "a precursor of Anna Livia PlurabelIe of Finnegans Wake" in that she is "suggestive of Demeter." 183 Mikio Ota's Tess ni okeru ReÃ- to Niku no Sokoku (Dualism of Spirit and Body in Tess of the d'Urbervilles), Bulletin of Teitoku Gakuen, No. 6 (1980), is an attempt to scrutinize Tess from a viewpoint of "the dissociation of spirit and body" on the assumption that the dualism of spirit and body has been "one of the main trends in the history of European thought." Ota's point is that Hardy applies the idea of dissociation to the characterization of Alec and Angel in order to create "a tragedy of modern love." Alec, who first appears before Tess as a personification of "pagan animalism ," is converted by Angel's father. but this conversion is so superficial that upon seeing Tess at Cross-in-Hand he reverts to his former self, attributing the cause of backsliding to her. Angel personifies, on the other hand, "Christian asceticism." But his spiritualism vanishes at Tess's confession. He asks Izz, whom he does not really love, to go to Brazil with him "for relief." Ota contends that with the characterization of these two persons, Hardy presents "a symbolical description of the unstable waverings of those who are divided between spirit and body," and that "the corruption of sex morals was wriggling behind strict moralism." Thus, both Alec and Angel become "intruders into Tess's life"; the former "rapes her body" while the latter "violates her spirit." In Tess no Kotonado—Marukusu-shugi Bungakushi Riron no Kanosei £ meggutte (Tess and Others—On the Possibility of the Marxist Theory of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 182-187
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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