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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

Minding the Senses

Minding the Senses

Jude the Obscure and Under Western Eyes

Chapter:
(p.243) Chapter Six Minding the Senses
Source:
Hardy, Conrad and the Senses
Author(s):

Hugh Epstein

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474449861.003.0007

This final chapter discusses why reading Jude the Obscure and Under Western Eyes is a different experience from that provided by the earlier novels, but why they are essential novels with which to conclude a study of the senses. In Jude the focus changes from sensory to mental experience: in scenes of ‘mutual distress’, Jude’s and Sue’s idealising tragically loses or denies the moments in which the senses and the mind might be reunited. Razumov is depicted as an even lonelier figure as he seeks to exert mental control over his senses, which are driven to re-enact scenes of a hallucinatory intensity. Whilst, in the changed epistemology of these novels, the protagonists’ minds are seen to be inhabited by words and the careful watching of them, in both novels it is bodily gesture that is finally required to declare the truth. In the short Postscript which follows, the fundamental empiricist affinity between Hardy and Conrad is re-affirmed, and their distinctiveness from other realist novelists is re-visited in terms of the scale of their vision and the centrality of the word ‘existence’ in their lexicon.

Keywords:   Mental awareness, Ideal, Distress, Mind, Loneliness, Words, Scale, Empiricist, Existence

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