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Hardy’s Geography of Narrative Empathy
Studies in the Novel (2011)
  • Eve C Sorum, University of Massachusetts Boston
This 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 Date
Summer 2011
Citation Information
Eve C Sorum. "Hardy’s Geography of Narrative Empathy" Studies in the Novel Vol. 43 Iss. 2 (2011)
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