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Modern Literature and the Tragic$
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K. M. Newton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748636730

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748636730.001.0001

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The Return of the Tragic in Fiction

The Return of the Tragic in Fiction

(p.63) Chapter 4 The Return of the Tragic in Fiction
Modern Literature and the Tragic

K. M. Newton

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter describes the works of tragic writers, such as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Joseph Conrad. Features of Hardy's tragic perspective that reflects the impact of Darwinism are elaborated. George Eliot was interested in the tragic and tragedy as a form both critically and philosophically and discussed them in several essays. Eliot is less willing than Hardy to give the tragic the last word. The tragic in Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure is also addressed. Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has often been called a tragic novel, though ‘tragic’ tends to be used in a rather general sense. Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a ferocious exposure of colonialism and imperialism, at least as practised by non-British colonialists. Conrad can be compared to Tolstoy since both resist the tragic.

Keywords:   tragic, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, Joseph Conrad, George Eliot, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, Anna Karenina, Heart of Darkness

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