Imagining Archaeology: Nature and Landscape in the work of Thomas Hardy and Richard Jefferies
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis is available for Library use on the understanding that it is copyright material and that no quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.
Abstract Over the last two decades the potential for the combined study of literature and archaeology has been increasingly recognised. The Victorian era, which gave rise to new literary forms, and to archaeology as a science, offers a fertile area of enquiry. This thesis seeks to bring together the imaginative possibilities of archaeology and literature, conceiving their close association to be rooted in the observance and appreciation of the natural world. Focusing on the work of Thomas Hardy and Richard Jefferies, who both wrote about Wessex landscapes rich in archaeology, the thesis identifies the processes involved in the authors’ engagement with nature in archaeological settings. In 1851, Sir Daniel Wilson welcomed archaeology into the ‘circle of the sciences’, and the subject rose to popularity in the periodical press alongside rural pursuits; driven by the closing divide between town and country. Literary depictions of nature in ancient settings elevated the imaginative conception of the past, and found a receptive audience in London papers such as the Graphic and the Pall Mall Gazette, to which Hardy and Jefferies contributed. Both authors associate the mysterious qualities of prehistoric times, and the consonant sense of ‘untrodden space’, with the discovery of new subterranean territories in the self. In a society that was ‘adrift on change’, and seeking new meaning, these connections between the literary and archaeological imagination, and between the present and the past, forged at least temporary consolation. Both authors anticipated early Modern approaches to an archaeology of mind.
'“The Riddle of this Painful Earth”: Late Victorian Literature and Archaeology During the Great Agricultural Depression', Journal Of Literature and Science, Volume 5, No. 2 (2012) ISSN 1754-646X
'Hardy and the Bronze Age', Thomas Hardy Journal, XXIV, 34-42
'Imagining Archaeology: Nature and Landscape in the Work of Richard Jefferies' (Parts One and Two), Richard Jefferies Society Journal, Nos 24 and 25 (2013)
'Archaeology' in Phillip Mallett, ed., Thomas Hardy in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)
‘Richard Jefferies and Sport: the Pursuit of an Ideal’, Richard Jefferies Society Journal 21 (2011), pp. 24-39
‘Bibliographical Discoveries: Jefferies Imitators,’ Richard Jefferies Society Journal, 20 (2011), pp. 19-25
‘Jefferies and Astronomy’, Richard Jefferies Society Journal, 20 (2011), pp. 13-16
PhD in English