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"Their Glances Met'': Looks and Desire in The Mayor of Casterbridge

Abstract : Starting from J. Hillis Miller’s work on distance and desire as two of the “outlining threads” of Hardy’s work, this paper aims at exploring the emphasis on complex ways of seeing in The Mayor of Casterbridge and their connection with the theme of fascination. These ways of seeing range from the association between desire and the gaze, which shapes the feelings of the protagonists and organizes the intricate “dance of desire” in which they participate, to the “verbal-visual effects” (Bullen) that remind us of the influence of painting on Hardy’s writing. This study examines the role of the gaze and of the play on focalisation and pictorial effects in the expression of desire. It begins with first encounters and the way the visual exchanges that then take place generate fascination, before focusing on characters who watch from a distance and become readers of the manifestations of desire in the others’ looks and faces. The link between desire and the gaze is also found in the writing itself, through the presence of visual details that saturate the text and that may be envisaged as a manifestation of a desire for the visible. There is in The Mayor of Casterbridge an image-making process which the pictorial characteristics of the writing and the outstanding function of windows illustrate.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - 12:01:33 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 2:18:09 PM

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Fabienne Gaspari. "Their Glances Met'': Looks and Desire in The Mayor of Casterbridge. The Hardy Review, 2017, 19 (2), pp.70-81. ⟨10.4000/fathom.817⟩. ⟨hal-02170637⟩



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