Property Value
dbo:abstract
  • The English author Thomas Hardy set all of his major novels in the south and southwest of England. He named the area "Wessex" after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this part of that country prior to the unification of England by Æthelstan. Although the places that appear in his novels actually exist, in many cases he gave the place a fictional name. For example, Hardy's home town of Dorchester is called Casterbridge in his books, notably in The Mayor of Casterbridge. In an 1895 preface to the novel Far From the Madding Crowd he described Wessex as "a merely realistic dream country". The actual definition of "Hardy's Wessex" varied widely throughout Hardy's career, and was not definitively settled until after he retired from writing novels. When he created the concept of a fictional Wessex, it consisted merely of the small area of Dorset in which Hardy grew up; by the time he wrote Jude the Obscure, the boundaries had extended to include all of Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Hampshire, much of Berkshire, and some of Oxfordshire, with its most north-easterly point being Oxford (renamed "Christminster" in the novel). Cornwall was also referred to but named "Off Wessex". Similarly, the nature and significance of ideas of "Wessex" were developed over a long series of novels through a lengthy period of time. The idea of Wessex plays an important artistic role in Hardy's works (particularly his later novels), assisting the presentation of themes of progress, primitivism, sexuality, religion, nature and naturalism; however, this is complicated by the economic role Wessex played in Hardy's career. Considering himself primarily to be a poet, Hardy wrote novels mostly to earn money. Books that could be marketed under the Hardy brand of "Wessex novels" were particularly lucrative, which gave rise to a tendency to sentimentalised, picturesque, populist descriptions of Wessex – which, as a glance through most tourist giftshops in the south-west will reveal, remain popular with consumers today. Hardy's resurrection of the name "Wessex" is largely responsible for the popular modern use of the term to describe the south-west region of England (with the exception of Cornwall and arguably Devon); today, a panoply of organisations take their name from Hardy to describe their relationship to the area. Hardy's conception of Wessex as a separate, cohesive geographical and political identity has proved powerful, despite the fact it was originally created purely as an artistic conceit, and has spawned a lucrative tourist trade, and even a devolutionist Wessex Regionalist Party. (en)
dbo:thumbnail
dbo:wikiPageEditLink
dbo:wikiPageExternalLink
dbo:wikiPageExtracted
  • 2019-11-14 12:47:25Z (xsd:date)
dbo:wikiPageHistoryLink
dbo:wikiPageID
  • 6909494 (xsd:integer)
dbo:wikiPageLength
  • 19820 (xsd:integer)
dbo:wikiPageModified
  • 2019-11-14 12:47:23Z (xsd:date)
dbo:wikiPageOutDegree
  • 132 (xsd:integer)
dbo:wikiPageRevisionID
  • 926133402 (xsd:integer)
dbo:wikiPageRevisionLink
dbp:wikiPageUsesTemplate
dct:subject
rdf:type
rdfs:comment
  • The English author Thomas Hardy set all of his major novels in the south and southwest of England. He named the area "Wessex" after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this part of that country prior to the unification of England by Æthelstan. Although the places that appear in his novels actually exist, in many cases he gave the place a fictional name. For example, Hardy's home town of Dorchester is called Casterbridge in his books, notably in The Mayor of Casterbridge. In an 1895 preface to the novel Far From the Madding Crowd he described Wessex as "a merely realistic dream country". (en)
rdfs:label
  • Thomas Hardy's Wessex (en)
owl:sameAs
foaf:depiction
foaf:isPrimaryTopicOf
is dbo:wikiPageDisambiguates of
is dbo:wikiPageRedirects of
is foaf:primaryTopic of