Hardy’s Geography of Narrative EmpathyStudies in the Novel (2011)
AbstractThis article explores how Thomas Hardy used geographic descriptions to promote empathetic engagement with his characters. I argue he worked to literalize the experience of narrative empathy by orienting his readers in both real and imaginary spaces, creating what I will call a “geo-empathy.” Exploring this conjunction between geography and empathy in both his novels and in surrounding texts suggests that Hardy offers an alternative narrative practice in which subject-making—the imagining of interior life and emotions—is no longer the primary method of engaging empathy. Yet by rooting perspective-taking in geographic positioning and exploring the potential impossibility of successfully standing in someone-else’s shoes, I argue that Hardy locates a sense of limit and loss in the very terrain of the text, even as he strives to enable empathy in his readers.
Publication DateSummer 2011
Citation InformationEve C Sorum. "Hardy’s Geography of Narrative Empathy" Studies in the Novel Vol. 43 Iss. 2 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/eve_sorum/3/