Koehler, Karin. Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems

Koehler, Karin. Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems Koehler’s book takes an expansive look at communication through letters, telegrams and the Penny Post in Thomas Hardy’s works; her writing is engaging, her analysis is compelling, and this volume is as enthralling as one of Hardy’s own. This tour de force takes into account historic nuances of the postal system as it evolved throughout the Victorian era, as well as a vast body of research on ‘epistolarity’ and letters’ formal and functional characteristics. Although grounded in a focus on details of form and history, Koehler never veers from her primary aim: careful analysis of Hardy’s texts. In examining a range of novels both well known and obscure – from The Mayor of Casterbridge to The Hand of Ethelberta – she explores topics of privacy, gender, control and the sexual double standard; the sense of self and a humanist conception of identity; romantic dynamics and discourse; narrative resolution; and the shift from oral tradition to written culture. One of Koehler’s most captivating chapters is that on failed letters – letters that are lost, mis-delivered, read by the wrong person or at the wrong moment – and social and sexual injustices in Jude the Obscure, The Woodlanders and Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Even for a topic as frequently discussed as Tess’s seduction/rape, Koehler manages to add new layers of understanding and meaning. In addition to the in-depth and illuminating look at Hardy’s novels and their exploration of written messages and their relation to social and cultural norms, Koehler also explores Hardy’s poems and short stories, arguing that Hardy’s interest in letters did not end when he stopped writing novels. This work reads well as a whole, though the chapters are largely self-contained and could be equally usefully read in extracts for a particular course. The book would be of significant interest not only to Hardy scholars but also to enthusiasts of the post, of letter writing, and of the Victorian cultural imagination in general. © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press for the Court of the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland: No. SC013532. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Forum for Modern Language Studies Oxford University Press

Koehler, Karin. Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems

Loading next page...
 
/lp/ou_press/koehler-karin-thomas-hardy-and-victorian-communication-letters-kWICvu1Uwp
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press for the Court of the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland: No. SC013532.
ISSN
0015-8518
eISSN
1471-6860
D.O.I.
10.1093/fmls/cqx061
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Koehler’s book takes an expansive look at communication through letters, telegrams and the Penny Post in Thomas Hardy’s works; her writing is engaging, her analysis is compelling, and this volume is as enthralling as one of Hardy’s own. This tour de force takes into account historic nuances of the postal system as it evolved throughout the Victorian era, as well as a vast body of research on ‘epistolarity’ and letters’ formal and functional characteristics. Although grounded in a focus on details of form and history, Koehler never veers from her primary aim: careful analysis of Hardy’s texts. In examining a range of novels both well known and obscure – from The Mayor of Casterbridge to The Hand of Ethelberta – she explores topics of privacy, gender, control and the sexual double standard; the sense of self and a humanist conception of identity; romantic dynamics and discourse; narrative resolution; and the shift from oral tradition to written culture. One of Koehler’s most captivating chapters is that on failed letters – letters that are lost, mis-delivered, read by the wrong person or at the wrong moment – and social and sexual injustices in Jude the Obscure, The Woodlanders and Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Even for a topic as frequently discussed as Tess’s seduction/rape, Koehler manages to add new layers of understanding and meaning. In addition to the in-depth and illuminating look at Hardy’s novels and their exploration of written messages and their relation to social and cultural norms, Koehler also explores Hardy’s poems and short stories, arguing that Hardy’s interest in letters did not end when he stopped writing novels. This work reads well as a whole, though the chapters are largely self-contained and could be equally usefully read in extracts for a particular course. The book would be of significant interest not only to Hardy scholars but also to enthusiasts of the post, of letter writing, and of the Victorian cultural imagination in general. © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press for the Court of the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland: No. SC013532.

Journal

Forum for Modern Language StudiesOxford University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2018

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches

$49/month

Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.

$588

$360/year

billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial