Hardy's Literary Language and Victorian Philology

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This pioneering study is the first detailed exploration of Hardy's linguistic "awkwardness," a subject that has long puzzled critics. Dennis Taylor shows that Hardy's language must be understood as a distinctive response to the philological and literary issues of his time. Deeply influenced by the Victorian historical study of language, Hardy deliberately incorporated into his own writing a sense of language's recent and hidden history, its multiple stages and classes, and its arbitrary motivations. In what is the first major treatment of a writer's relation to the Oxford English Dictionary, Taylor's study also examines the influence on Hardy's language of the founding and development of this period of the OED.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The most probing contemporary critic of Hardy's verse...Taylor's immensely provocative book is filled with passing insights that amply fulfil its aim of locating Hardy's literary language within the problematics of Victorian linguistic scholarship."--English Literature in Transition

"Through Hardy we look at language and meaning differently, but only after Taylor's book do we have a full sense of what that crucial difference entails."--Victorian Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198122616
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on References and Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Hardy and the 'Dialect' of the Tribe 29
2 Hardy and the New Philology 96
3 Word Status and Imitation in Hardy's Language 173
4 The Historicism of Victorian Philology 207
5 Hardy's Words and the Language of Lost Origins 253
6 Hardy's 'Minute Way' of Looking at Style and Idiom 288
Conclusion: History in the Current Language 347
Appendix 1 Hardy's Notable Standard Words in the OED 381
Appendix 2 Hardy's Notable Dialect Words in Wright and the OED 385
Appendix 3 Hardy's Studies, Specimens &c. Notebook 387
Bibliography 393
Catalogues 403
Index 405
Word Index 421
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