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Hardy, Conrad and the Senses$
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Hugh Epstein

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474449861

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474449861.001.0001

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The Physiology of Sensation and Literary Style

The Physiology of Sensation and Literary Style

Desperate Remedies and The Rescue

(p.21) Chapter One The Physiology of Sensation and Literary Style
Hardy, Conrad and the Senses

Hugh Epstein

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter pairs two formative, but often disregarded novels, Desperate Remedies and The Rescue, on the basis of their shared interest in sensation. Also showing that sensation is a fundamental consideration in contemporary physiology, the chapter explores a correlation between popularised studies of nerve transmission and energy circulation and the way that the two novelists construct scenic events in their fiction. The enforced solipsism which Walter Pater embraces is distinguished from the necessary participation in a medium which the characters in the wider physics of the novels of Hardy and Conrad undergo. Through an examination of a number of highly sensory scenes, both novels are shown to dramatize the threat of passivity and the requirement of activity.

Keywords:   Sensation, Scene, Transmission, Physiology, Nerves, Walter Pater, Energy, Event, Solipsism, Medium

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