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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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‘Waiters on Chance’

‘Waiters on Chance’

The Tichborne Claimant, Land Law Reform and Rural Dispossession

(p.132) Chapter 4 ‘Waiters on Chance’
Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions

Trish Ferguson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines Thomas Hardy’s legal fiction in relation to the politics of land law reform and inheritance plots. More specifically, it looks at the increasing agitation for more democratic landholding laws that coincided with the debate over extension of suffrage. It considers the Tichborne trial, an inheritance dispute and the class tensions over landholding rights, and how Hardy takes up sensation fiction’s preoccupation with property law to tackle criminal imposture as well as illicit attempts to acquire property. The chapter discusses Hardy’s novel Desperate Remedies to highlight the power wielded by the aristocracy over those with insecure land tenure.

Keywords:   legal fiction, Thomas Hardy, land law, inheritance, Tichborne trial, landholding rights, sensation fiction, property law, aristocracy, Desperate Remedies

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