Explores Thomas Hardy's engagement with Victorian legal debates in his prose fiction. Thomas Hardy's fiction is examined in this book in the context of the seismic legal reforms of the nineteenth century as well as legal discourse in the literature of the era. The book examines the ways in which Hardy's role as a magistrate and his interest in the law impacted fundamentally on his prose fiction. It demonstrates that throughout his prose fiction Hardy engages with contentious legal issues that were debated by legal professionals and literary figures of his day, and argues that Hardy used fiction as a forum to question the extent to which legal reform improved the lives of women and the working classes.The study also looks at the ways in which Hardy deployed criminal plots derived from sensation fiction and reveals that the genre's engagement with legal reform influenced not only his sensation novel Desperate Remedies (1871) but also the plots of his subsequent fiction.
Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions
Edinburgh University Press