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Anthropocentrism in Hardy’s Eco-ethics Thinking

Author HuJing
Tutor SuMin
School Chongqing Normal University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords The Wessex Novels Anthropocentrism Human and Nature Human and Animal
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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21st century is a century of ecology. Ecological problem has been a focal point of the people. The criticism of literature and art from ecological point of view with modern eco-ethics theory has swiftly become a forward project in the sphere of learning. So, based on modern eco-ethics theory as the theoretical support , the writer holds that a further study and expound of Thomas·Hardy and his“the Wessex Novels”can be regard as a valuable and an meaning attempt of widening the vision and space for the research of Hardy.This paper is composed of there parts, which are introduction, principal part and conclusion. The introduction simply introduces the range, the significance and the method to study the versions, and then briefly formulates the historical and contemporary condition of the research of Hardy. In the academic community about Hardy’s research articles are mainly concentrat in his eco-ethics thinking of caring nature, caring ecological, claiming harmony between human and nature, and some scholars consider that Hardy′s eco-ethics thinking achieve the same theoretical height with modern eco-ethics theory. This paper try to restore the true background of Hardy′s novel writing, and find out anthropocentrism of Hardy′s eco-ethics thinking in his Wessex Novels,at the same time, it can be make a conclusion that anthropocentrism and naturalism are melt with each other and both exist in Hardy′s eco-ethics thinking. Through such efforts , the writer expect to make a small contribution to the research about Hardy′s eco-ethics thinking.The principal part consists of four major chapters. Chapter One briefly formulates theory school of eco-ethics theory which as a base to analyze Hardy′s eco-ethics thinking in this paper. Chapter Two briefly introduces the significant role Hardy plays in British literatus and Hardy′s“the Wessex Novels”, which including Under the Greenwood tree (1872),Far from the Madding Crowd(1874),The Return of the Native(1878), The Mayor of the Casterbridge(1886), The Woodlanders(1887), Tess of the D′Urbervilles(1891), Jude the Obscure(1895).This chapter deeply elaborates Hardy′s“the Wessex Novels”and analysis Hardy′s anthropocentrism in his eco-ethics thinking. The author gives a comprehensive analysis into two contents. Firstly, what the attitude Hardy towards to human-nature relationship, and then to the animal. This chapter concludes the result that Hardy did not achieve the same theoretical height with modern eco-ethics theory on the basis of a large number of instances. Based on the conclusions of chapter Two,chapter There summarize the naturalism of Hardy′s eco-ethics thinking. As the era in which Hardy was Western embryonic period of eco-ethics, Inevitably his mind had consciousness of anthropocentrism, he did not comprehend the essence of the relationship between human and nature , animal should be absolute equality. But his eco- ethics concepts were still advocating based human-nature relationship on respect for nature, close to nature, and respect for nature, love animal. Chapter Four explains the formation of Hardy′s eco-ethics conscepts. Three main factors are analyzed to contribute to Hardy′s eco-ethics concept. In the first place, impact came from the ecological tradition of English literature , from Chaucer in Medieval, to Shakespeare in Renaissance, then to Hardy’s Victorian era, British writer and poet in different times repeated the nature theme again and again in their work. Secondly, Hardy grown up in the countryside, attachment to the rural life made him love nature , close to nature. Nature gave him creative inspiration and had developed him a unique eco-ethics concepts. Moreover, the contemporary thoughts at the end of 19st century, especially Darwinism, and the nature concepts of Romantic poet Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats played an important role in the formation of Hardy′s eco-ethics concepts.It can be drawn a conclusion from previous chapters that on one hand, Hardy still has consciousness of anthropocentrism. On the other hand,“achieving a harmony and unity between human and nature”,“love animal”were still his eco-advocates which showed great foresight at that time. Eco-ethics concepts of Hardy remind people of reexamining the human-nature relationship.

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