Anti-modernism found in the characters in Thomas Hardy's poem, “The Moth-Signal” and his novel, The Return of the Native

Faisal Abdul-Wahhab Hayder, Sahar Azzam Neima


Thomas Hardy addressed the characteristics of three eras in his poetry-- the Romantic, the Victorian, and the Modern. However, his art did not fully to just these three eras. “The Moth-Signal”, which was published in 1914 during the Modern Age, was influenced by Hardy's major theme for The Return of the Native, the novel he published in 1878 during the Victorian Age. This paper thus examines the influence of anti-modernism manifested in Hardy's novel, The Return of the Native, on his later poem, “The Moth-Signal” to demonstrate how his conception of the ghost depicted in the poem reflected anti-modernism. This discussion sheds new light on the characterizations in both works, despite their different genres, and discusses it in the context of the struggle between the modernists and the anti-modernists. These characters are generally alike, but also different, due to their quite different contexts. Clym Yeobright, a husband in the novel, is presented nearly the same way in the poem. However, Damon Wildeve, the lover of Eustacia Vye, reflects the desire for modernity. Still, when displaced by the ghost of the Ancient Briton in the poem, that character then symbolizes  the Celtic culture.


DOI = 10.24897/acn.64.68.43

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