Secular apocalyptic and Thomas Hardy

Vance, Norman (2000) Secular apocalyptic and Thomas Hardy. History of European Ideas, 26 (3-4). pp. 201-210. ISSN 0191-6599

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Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (1895) makes ironically secular use of the imagery of the New Jerusalem and of unregenerate Babylon in the Book of Revelation. His purchase on the text is mediated both by Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, a childhood favourite, and hymns such as 'Jerusalem the Golden' translated from Bernard of Cluny's De Contemptu Mundi. Avoiding the traditions of anti-Catholic interpretation, and of explicitly political readings which identify Babylon and the mysterious 'number of the beast' with particular historical adversaries and tyrants, Hardy uses the biblical text sardonically to demonstrate the inadequacy of escapist dreams and institutional religion and to explore problems of poverty and ambition complicated by sexuality and its cynical exploitation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Norman Vance
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:37
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2012 08:21
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