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Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions$
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Trish Ferguson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748673247

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748673247.001.0001

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‘If You Only Knew Me Through and Through’

‘If You Only Knew Me Through and Through’

The Domestic Trial Scene and Narrative Advocacy

(p.19) Chapter 1 ‘If You Only Knew Me Through and Through’
Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions

Trish Ferguson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the limits of the reasonable man standard in terms of gender bias by focusing on Thomas Hardy’s narratives in the context of two divorce cases: Norton v. Melbourne (1836) and Crawford v. Crawford and Dilke (1886). It considers the Norton case as an illustration of women’s legal marginalisation, both in terms of their treatment within marriage and within the courtroom. It explains how Hardy exposes the patriarchal basis of legal judgment in the courtroom via the Norton case and how his legal fiction offers pseudo-legal representation in narratives that reflect the dialogic form of trial procedure.

Keywords:   reasonable man standard, gender bias, Thomas Hardy, divorce, Norton v. Melbourne, Crawford v. Crawford and Dilke, women, legal judgment, legal fiction, trial procedure

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