The Circus and the Deadly Child: Ruptures of Social Code in Jude the Obscure
Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure has frequently been read as Hardy›s social critique of marriage, class, and systemic education. Readings of the novel in this critical tradition have a tendency to simplify the text into an allegory emergent from Hardy’s own biography. I seek to destabilize these readings by instead engaging with the text as one not concerned with institutions but rather the underlying social codes that give them coherence. By pairing Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of speech and counter speech with Lee Edelman’s queer critique of child-centered futurity, I offer a new reading of the novel that privileges codes and legibility as central to the novel’s critical project.
Copyright (c) 2018 Tobias Wilson-Bates
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