不釣り合いな結婚の生態(6)「初代ウェッセックス伯爵夫人」の場合--「共感の通路」を求めて [in Japanese] Modes of mismating (6) In the case of 'the first countess of Wessex': hankering for 'a congenial channel' [in Japanese]
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A Group of Noble Dames (1891) by Thomas Hardy contains ten episodes of noble dames, apparently adopting the narrative form of Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron or Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. 'The First Countess of Wessex' in this collection seems to present to us an interesting perspective in relation with the foregoing stories and novels, and even Tess of the d'Urbervilles written around this time. The happy ending of this tale, on the surface level of the narrative of the collection, corresponds to that of the last tale 'The Honourable Laura'. Betty, afterwards the First Countess of Wessex, is made to get married to Stephen Reynard, about twenty-seven years her senior, by her ambitious mother. Betty's dormant self-consciousness awakens with the advent of young Phellipson, her father Squire Cornell's favourite. Betty's emotional fluctuation comes to a climax when her desperate attempt to evade Reynard brings an ironical end. With the loss of Phellipson and the heroic and theatrical kissing of Reynard, Betty undergoes a dramatic change of feelings. Her change is to confirm 'a congenial channel' with her lawful husband Reynard thereafter. Under the seemingly traditional story-telling style and ending, some 'tragical mysteries of life', as Hardy says, are hidden and are developed into other tragic tales told in this narrative collection. In this paper 'The First Countess of Wessex' is analyzed from the viewpoint of the theme of hankering for 'a congenial channel', as part of a whole study of A Group of Noble Dames.
- Journal of language and literature
Journal of language and literature 15, 1-14, 2007-12
The University of Tokushima