Wounded Animals, Tess and the Ethics of Representation in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles

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2020.02.15
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2020.02
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서지정보

발행기관 : 한국근대영미소설학회 수록지정보 : 근대영미소설 / 26권 / 3호
저자명 : ( Jung Eun Seo )

영어 초록

Focusing on Tess of the D’Urbervilles, this article examines how Hardy inherits the ethical imperative of humanitarian narratives to intervene in fellow creature’s pain and suffering while also bringing about a critical awareness against epistemological and representational appropriations of victims and their stories of victimization. More specifically, I investigate how Hardy employs a motif of wounded animals as a way to thematize radical alterity of the suffering others along with the commensurability of pain among sentient creatures. Traditionally, Tess’s affinity with animals has been discussed primarily in terms of her ability or inability to speak and act for herself as a subject. However, my reading suggests that the heroine’s wounded animality has more to do with Hardy’s need as a humanitarian novelist to imagine the shareability of pain without colonizing others’ experience of the pain. Through his figuration of Tess as animals, Hardy foregrounds his status as a fellow sentient creature and a situated observer who has no transcendental access to the experience of the others. As Hardy evokes compassion for kindred sufferers but disowns any epistemological and representational authority over the fellow in pain, this paper conclusively argues that the problematic hierarchy between the observer and the observed, and between the knower and the known in the Victorian scenes of humanitarian encounters is questioned and dismantled.

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Wounded Animals, Tess and the Ethics of Representation in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles