Thomas Hardy as a threshold figure and crisis of representation in his poetry—a deconstructionist reading

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015




Thomas Hardy is a poet who produced most of his poetry in the Victorian age but published it largely in the twentieth century when the literary sensibility was predominantly modern. Although Hardy is not conventionally considered a Modernist poet, he shares with Modernists an element that can be referred to as the linguistic crisis by which they try to get over the sense of anxiety against the backdrop of a chaotic world and problematized language. The forerunner of Deconstructionism, Derrida, exposes a long established history of logocentric thinking, which has continually been moving between binary oppositions and Platonic dualities. Derrida simply puts forward the idea that there is no logos, no origin, and no centre of truth. The centre is always somewhere else; he identifies this as a “free play of signifiers.” Consequently, the anxiety of the poet with modern sensibility to find a point of reference inevitably results in a “crisis of representation,” or, in a problematic relation between language and truth, signifier and signified. This crisis can be observed in Hardy’s poetry, too. For this purpose, this research focuses on four key concepts in Hardy’s poetry that expose this problematic relationship between language and truth: his agnosticism, his concept of the self, his language and concept of structure, and his concept of time and temporality. These aspects are explored in the light of Derrida’s Deconstructionism with reference to poems by Hardy which heralded the Modernist crisis of representation.