• The established Hardy literature is saturated with stereotypical criticisms and patterns that have no grounded empirical criteria. One major problem of such a tendency is that thematic discussions of Hardy are mostly confined to some major themes, such as Wessex and suffering, paying no attention to important thematic concepts in Hardy’s texts such as sexuality, class, and education (Widdowson, 1989). It is a commonplace of Hardy thematic reviews that ‘Hardy is the pioneer of the regional novel’, ‘Hardy’s Wessex is the most dominating theme of his novels and short stories’, ‘the novels and short stories of Hardy are a good product of 19th century social, economic, and cultural life’. Templates of this kind are not reached, however, through empirical methods. Most of them are either stereotypical criticisms of Hardy or they are based on biographical accounts which bear no obvious relation to objectivity.
• The Hardy literature is selective. That is to say, many critics take a...
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