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Thomas Hardy and the Value of Brains

Lyons, Sara (2020) Thomas Hardy and the Value of Brains. Victorian Literature and Culture, 48 (2). pp. 327-359. ISSN 1060-1503. E-ISSN 1470-1553. (doi:10.1017/S1060150318001572) (KAR id:68534)

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This article reads Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders (1887) and Jude the Obscure (1895) as ambivalent responses to the new conception of human intelligence which emerged from Victorian psychology and evolutionary theory and which formed the basis of what I describe as the Victorian biopolitics of intelligence. Although these novels reflect Hardy’s endorsement of the new biological model of intelligence, they also register his resistance to what many late Victorians assumed to be its corollary: that mental worth can be an object of scientific measurement, classification, and ranking. I suggest that the work of the philosopher Jacques Rancière illuminates the extent to which these novels challenge the scientific reification of intellectual inequality and attempt to vindicate overlooked and stigmatised forms of intelligence.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S1060150318001572
Uncontrolled keywords: Thomas Hardy; intelligence; The Woodlanders; Jude the Obscure
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English > Centre for Victorian Literature and Culture
Depositing User: Sara Lyons
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2018 09:31 UTC
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 09:21 UTC
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Lyons, Sara:
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