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The inward and outward eye: shame and guilt in the work of Thomas Hardy [Elektronische Ressource] / vorgelegt von Sarah McEwan

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268 pages
“The Inward and Outward Eye”: Shame and Guilt in the Work of Thomas Hardy Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades eines Doktors der Philosophie (Dr. Phil.) durch die Philosophische Fakultät der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf vorgelegt von Sarah McEwan aus Portsmouth Erste Gutachterin: Prof. Dr. Therese Seidel Zweiter Gutachter: Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Busse Disputation: 6.5.2003 D 61 2 Contents A. Introduction: The Centrality of Shame and Guilt in Thomas Hardy………………….. 7 I. The Neglect of Shame in Hardyan Criticism and its Impact upon Guilt………….. 7 II. The Interpretation of Guilt as a Social Sanction and a Psychological 12 Phenomenon……………………………………………………………………….. III. The Return of the Native, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and 18 Jude the Obscure: A Trilogy……………………………..………………………… B. Defining Hardyan Shame and Guilt: Rethinking Shame and Guilt within and beyond their Conventional and Cultural Context…………………………. 20 I. Descriptions and Associations of Shame and Guilt in the Nineteenth Century: Moral Climate and Moral Wrong………………………………………………….. 20 II. “The Inward and Outward Eye”: Levels of Shame and Guilt in Hardy and their Function………………………………………………………………….. 30 1. The Psychology behind the Shameful and the Guilty Moment and the Question of Identity……………………………………………………. 30 a.
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“The Inward and Outward Eye”:
Shame and Guilt in the Work of Thomas Hardy







Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades
eines Doktors der Philosophie (Dr. Phil.) durch die Philosophische Fakultät
der Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf










vorgelegt von Sarah McEwan aus Portsmouth
Erste Gutachterin: Prof. Dr. Therese Seidel
Zweiter Gutachter: Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Busse
Disputation: 6.5.2003

































D 61

2
Contents

A. Introduction: The Centrality of Shame and Guilt in Thomas Hardy………………….. 7
I. The Neglect of Shame in Hardyan Criticism and its Impact upon Guilt………….. 7
II. The Interpretation of Guilt as a Social Sanction and a Psychological 12
Phenomenon………………………………………………………………………..
III. The Return of the Native, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and 18
Jude the Obscure: A Trilogy……………………………..…………………………

B. Defining Hardyan Shame and Guilt: Rethinking Shame and Guilt
within and beyond their Conventional and Cultural Context…………………………. 20
I. Descriptions and Associations of Shame and Guilt in the Nineteenth Century:
Moral Climate and Moral Wrong………………………………………………….. 20
II. “The Inward and Outward Eye”: Levels of Shame and Guilt in Hardy
and their Function………………………………………………………………….. 30
1. The Psychology behind the Shameful and the Guilty Moment
and the Question of Identity……………………………………………………. 30
a. Consciousness and Exposure..………………………………………………. 30
b. Seeing and being Seen: Audience or Conscience…………………………… 33
c. Human Beings versus Human Doings:
Self, Action, Trust and Disillusionment..……………………………………. 38
2. The Representation and Language of Shame and Guilt.……………………….. 43
a. The Blush, the Body and the Mind………………………………………….. 43
b. Bodily Shame and Spiritual Guilt…………………………………………… 47
3. Shame and Guilt Cultures, Text-worlds and Social Comment………………… 48
a. Public Opinion versus Self-evaluation.……………………………………… 49
b. Results versus Intentions.……………………………………………………. 55
c. The Collapse of the Community: Guilt replaces Shame.……………………. 56
d. Social Mobility and Class Shame.…………………………………………… 58
e. Primitivism and Progress……………………………………………………. 60
III. Conclusion: The Dissociation of Shame and Guilt from
63 Conventional Morality…………………………………………………………….



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C. Specific Studies: A Trilogy of Shame and Guilt……………………………………… 64
I. The Return of the Native: The Launch of Shame and Guilt..………………………. 64
1. The Dominance of the Public Sphere and Public Shame.………………………. 65
a. Etiquette, Scandal and Reputation..…………………………………………. 65
b. The Case of Eustacia………………………………………………………… 69
i. Exposure and Indifference.………………………………………………. 69
ii. Clym as Audience: Lessons in Sensitivity.………………………………. 72
2. Shame, Class and Identity: Losing the Sense of Social Superiority…………… 74
a. Mrs. Yeobright and Personal Shame………………………………………… 75
b. Cracks in Eustacia’s Self-image.…………………………………………….. 79
c. Clym’s Transcendence of Shame: Lessons in Indifference…………………. 81
3. Guilt and Delusion: Clym and the Refuge from Reality 83
a. Fighting Futility and the “Ache of Modernism”…………………………….. 84
b. Enlightenment followed by Blindness and the Refusal to See………………. 89
4. Wider Polar Landscapes: Shame and Guilt Characters…………………………. 92
a. Clarity of Conscience, Primitivism, Paganism and Sensuality……………… 93
b. Guilt, Modernity and Intellectualism..………………………………………. 95

II. Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Study in Shame……………………………………… 97
1. Shame Structures.……………………………………………………………….. 98
2. Shame, Guilt and Identity Crisis.……………………………………………..… 100
a. Tess and the Quest for Identity.……………………………………………… 101
b. The Agonies of Class Shame..………………………………………………. 104
i. Angel and Avoidance: Making a d’Urberville out of a Durbeyfield…….. 104
ii. Tess’ Social and Intellectual Inadequacy………………………………… 107
c. Guilt, Delusion and the Distorted Identity: The Guilty Persona……………. 109
3. Audience and the Observance of Public Opinion………………………………. 112
a. John, Joan and the Importance of Reputation………………………………. 113
b. Felix, Cuthbert and the Danger of Dogged Obedience..……………………. 115
c. Angel and Family as Audience..……………………………………………. 117
d. Tess: Conforming with Protest……………………………………………… 120
e. The Vanity of Public Opinion………………………………………………. 123
4. The Psychology of Shame: The Mental Process behind the Shameful Moment…. 126
a. The Individual and Audience’s Views……………………………………… 126
b. Shifts in Consciousness and Perception…………………………………….. 127
5. Sexual Shame: Tess, Alec and the Boundary of the Body……………………… 131

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6. Shame at its Gravest: The Loss of Identity and the Obliteration of the Self……. 134
a. Surprise, Exposure and Disillusionment……………………………………. 135
b. Mistaken Identities and Angel as Audience………………………………… 136
c. The Degeneration from a Personality to a Nobody…………………………. 139
7. Sympathy and Distance: Mitigating Tess’ Guilt..………………………………. 141
a. Modesty in the face of Immodesty.………………………………………….. 142
b. Nature, Fate and Pathos……………………………………………………… 145
c. The Miscreants Angel and Alec.…………………………………………….. 151

III.Jude the Obscure: A Study in Guilt.………………………………………………. 154
1. The Death of the Audience: Conditions for the Conscience and Guilt………… 155
a. Aloneness, Isolation and the Modern Condition……………………………. 156
b. The Problem of Communication……………………………………………. 159
c. Introspection and the Stream of Conscience.……………………………….. 162
d. The Conscience: Its Deliberation, Relief and Foundation………………….. 165
e. The Private Sphere, Rootlessness and Moral Autonomy…………………… 169
2. Wider Guilt Landscapes: The Guilt Character Sue..……………………………. 173
a. Temptation, Remorse and Self-criticism.…………………………………… 173
b. Spirituality, Sexlessness and Modernity……………………………………. 175
3. The Result: Resisting Ridicule and Shame..……………………………………. 176
a. Jude and the Defeat of the Shame of Failure……………………………….. 177
b. Sue’s Criticism of Convention and the Shameful State…………………….. 182
c. Phillotson’s Triumph over Public Censure…………………………………. 185
d. Arabella, Shamelessness and the Manipulation of Convention…………….. 190
e. Excommunication and Ostracism.………………………….……………….. 193
4. The Danger: Losing Sense of the Self and the World.………………………….. 195
a. Outsiders bereft of Guide and Principle…………………………………….. 196
b. Sue, Instability and the Problem of Identity………………………………… 198
c. The Collapse of Sue and Meaning………………………………………….. 199
5. The Solution: Guilt against Futility and Chaos…………………………………. 201
a. Making Sense of the Hanging: Finding Meaning where there is None…….. 202
b. Clym Revisited: Intellectualism and Enlightenment, then Blindness………. 206
c. Gaining an Identity and having a Mission: The Puritan Adulteress
and her Punishment…………………………………………………………. 208



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D. Wider Patternings across Major Novels………………………………………………. 212
I. Redressing the Balance: Shame as a Principle of Plot…………………………….. 212
1. Guilt and Public Shame in The Mayor of Casterbridge………………………… 212
2. Class, Shame and Motivation in The Woodlanders…………………………….. 214
II. Shame and Narrative Technique…………………………………………………… 218
1. The Visualization of Shame: The Blush………………………………………… 218
2. The Imagery and Poetics of Shame and Blushing: Some Examples……………. 220
3. Body Language and Sign reading: Visual replaces Verbal Communication…… 222
a. The Face and Emotion……………………………………………………… 224
b. Exposure and Truth in The Woodlanders and The Return of the Native…… 226
c. Character- and Reader-oriented Exposure and Inference
in The Return of the Native and other Novels………………………………. 229
d. Transcending Literary and Social Convention: Sexual Consciousness
and Showing the Unsayable in Tess of the d’Urbervilles and other Novels... 234
III. Shame and the Question of Gender……………………………………………….. 238
1. The Feminization of Shame……………………………………………………. 239
2. Patriarchal Structures and Power Struggles: The Face and the Male Gaze……. 241
3. Typecast Women Characters…………………………………………………… 244
a. Sexual Modesty, Shyness and Blushing.……………………………………. 244
b. Beauty and the Blush ……………………………………………………….. 247
4. Shame-based Sympathy and Distance: Socially Acceptable
and Praiseworthy Heroines.…………………………………………………….. 249

E. Conclusion: Redressing the Balance – Shame as the defining Aspect
of Guilt in Thomas Hardy..……………………………………………………………. 253

F. Works Cited……………………………………………………………………………. 259






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A. Introduction: The Centrality of Shame and Guilt in Thomas Hardy
I. The Neglect of Shame in Hardyan Criticism and its Impact upon Guilt

Then she became aware of the spectacle she presented to their surprised vision: roses at her
breast; roses in her hat; roses and strawberries in her basket to the brim. She blushed, and
1said confusedly that the flowers had been given to her. (Tess, 84)
Appearing ridiculous and indecorous on her journey home from The Slopes, Tess
d’Urberville’s sense of shame seems at first glance no more than the effect of a simple
faux pas. Yet whilst on one level shame may be seen to result, in the conventional way,
from the failure to fulfil accepted standards of behaviour, Thomas Hardy is sooner
concerned with its inner workings as a mental and physical experience and the wider
personal consequences of such an experience upon the self. Communicated silently
through the body language of the blush, a sign offering infinite poetic possibilities,
shame in Hardy is primarily about perception and ways of seeing the self in relation to
others. In the above extract it marks the point when, realizing she is the object of
observation by her fellow travellers and imagining herself in their eyes, Tess’ view of
herself changes, a process which also proves capable of influencing her behaviour and
altering her outlook upon life. Shame, a painful and powerful emotion, represents the
individual’s interaction with and understanding of the outside world.
In the literary history of human experience, shame has a long biblical and classical
tradition. In Genesis it is associated with the carnal enlightenment Adam and Eve attain
by eating from the tree of knowledge. After doing this they are ashamed of their
nakedness and hide. In Homer it is conveyed by such words as aidos, aideomai and
aischros to describe, for example, Hector’s shame before the Trojans in the closing
stages of the Iliad lest he does not confront Achilles in single combat, or Odysseus’
shame for being seen crying by the Phaeacians in the Odyssey. Its intrinsic value is also
2acknowledged by Plato and Aristotle. Through its repeated reappearance in myth,
literature and social ritual, some shame types and scenarios have become archetypal.
The fallen woman’s shame is one such example. Its classical model is the Phaedra of


1 Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Harmondsworth, 1985, abbreviated hereafter as Tess. The
texts used for this study are the Penguin Classics Editions; all further quotations in the text are cited with
page numbers in brackets, with the abbreviated novel title where necessary.
2 Plato, The Laws, Bk. 2, 671c-e; Aristotle, On Rhetoric, 1383b-1385a.

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Euripides’ Hippolytus, its biblical representation found in the Old Testament figures
Jezebel and Delilah, and in the New Testament Mary Magdalen. This type of shame is a
recurring design in English and American literature, being the basis of Nathaniel
Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850) and of course Hardy’s Tess. Filial shame is
another type of shame that has a long literary tradition. Tess’ humiliation upon her
father’s overindulgence in the “market nitch” at the beginning of Tess echoes the Old
Testament description of Noah’s sons in response to his drunkenness and nakedness.
These hide their faces in shame when they discover their father has consumed so much
1wine that he has gone to bed without any clothes on ; similarly, we cannot think of a
child’s shame of its parents without thinking of Jane Austen’s heroine, Elizabeth
Bennet, who “blushed and blushed again with shame and vexation” (Pride and
2Prejudice, 141) at her mother’s bad taste and immodesty at the Netherfield Ball.
More important than this, however, is the fact that the first serious theoretical
reflection on the existence and nature of shame took place in Hardy’s lifetime and, more
precisely, spans the period of his career as a novelist. Charles Darwin published his
study on blushing and shame in his pioneering work, The Expression of the Emotions in
Man and Animals, in 1872; Henry Havelock Ellis’ “The Evolution of Modesty” was
first published in Studies in the Psychology of Sex in 1898. Works by Friedrich
Nietzsche concerning shame, such as The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra and
Beyond Good and Evil were all composed in the 1880s, and the Russian philosopher,
Vladimir Solovyof’s The Justification of the Good dates from 1898. Yet instead of
implying that Hardy was familiar with all these works, or that he had to be, to make
3shame a focal point of his fiction, this only serves to highlight his earnest and
exceptional interest in the area compared with his contemporaries. In the studies of
Darwin and Ellis, which he possibly knew, shame does not receive the scrutiny Hardy
grants it. Subsumed under other-related emotions such as shyness, self-consciousness or


1 Genesis, 9: 20-24.
2 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Harmondsworth, 1985.
3 Of the four studies it is possible that Hardy was familiar with Darwin and Ellis’ work; for their
discussion see pp. 25-28. Although Hardy is known to have been interested in Nietzsche, he did not hold
the German philosopher in very high regard, writing in a well-known letter in 1902 that “to model our
conduct on Nature’s apparent conduct, as Nietzsche would have taught, can only bring disaster to
humanity,” The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy by Thomas Hardy, ed. Michael Millgate, London, 1984,
p. 399. Further criticism of Nietzsche is found in numerous entries in the “Literary Notes,” ed. Lennart
Björk under the title, Notebooks: The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy, Vol. II, London, 1985, pp. 75
and 511f. Hardy is not known to be familiar with Solovyof’s work.
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modesty, it is paid no specific attention and almost always discussed in relation to
blushing. The same can be said for the forerunning essay to Darwin’s work, The
Physiology or Mechanism of Blushing (1839), written by the Royal College surgeon,
Thomas Burgess. By examining shame in such complex terms as the human mind and
body, the self, motivation and behaviour, and identity, Hardy’s handling transcends
conventional definitions in many respects, and approaches understandings of shame in
the fields of psychology and anthropology first articulated in the twentieth century. That
the author is able to transfer this shame experience to a literary setting in so faithful and
natural a way in a number of the major novels, integrating it within his narrative
1 2technique in works like The Return of the Native (1878), The Woodlanders (1887) and
Tess (1891), not only pays credit to Hardy’s literary skill, but demonstrates shame’s
structural importance in giving language and shape to his storytelling.
In spite of its centrality, shame has remained wholly neglected by critics of Hardy.
Instead it has been subsumed under guilt, a subject which has received steady critical
attention. This trend is also found in the study of psychology where the imbalance of
3attention paid to shame in the interest of guilt has only recently begun to be redressed.
As a result works such as Tess have remained partially misunderstood. Examining this
novel, for example, under the traditional aspect of guilt is misdirected, which means that
its first and foremost concern with shame and all its varieties pass unnoticed. A similar
4fate is met by the novels Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) and The Mayor of
5Casterbridge (1886) where shame, particularly of a public nature, is equally important
6as guilt, just as the traditionally guilt-centred novel Jude the Obscure (1896) is not
without its unique interest in the matter. The reason for this precedence of guilt over
shame is twofold. First, on a historical level, guilt is an integral part of our cultural
consciousness. Since the dawn of Christianity, and as Freud took care to point out in
Civilization and its Discontents, western civilization has been characterized by a sense


1 Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native, Harmondsworth, 1985, abbreviated hereafter as The Return.
2, The Woodlanders, Harmondsworth, 1998, abbreviated hereafter as Woodlanders.
3 Helen Block Lewis, “Introduction: Shame – the “Sleeper” in psychopathology,” pp. 1-28, and “The Role
of Shame in Depression over the Life Span,” pp. 29-50 in The Role of Shame in Symptom Formation, ed.
Helen Block Lewis, Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1987. Particularly significant here is Lewis’ discussion of
Freud’s neglect of shame and focus upon guilt. See also Wendy Hoblitzelle, “Differentiating and
Measuring Shame and Guilt: The Relation between Shame and Depression,” p. 207, in the same.
4 Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, Harmondsworth, 1985, abbreviated hereafter as Madding
Crowd.
5 Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Harmondsworth, 1997, abbreviated hereafter as The Mayor.
6, Jude the Obscure, Harmondsworth, 1985, abbreviated hereafter as Jude.
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of guilt. This is secured by the Christian doctrines of original sin and the Atonement, the
notion that, as the descendants of Adam and Eve, we are not only all born innately
‘guilty’ of their sin, but that Jesus had to atone for our guilt by dying on the cross in
order to renew the broken covenant between man and God. Subsequently the idea of
guilt and its presentation and examination has always played a central role in western
culture: as early as the seventeenth century Shakespeare was exploring different ways of
coping with guilt through his two characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Hawthorne’s
The Scarlet Letter and Nikolaevich Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1878), for example, or
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamozov (1880), Franz Kafka’s The Trial
(1925) and William Faulkner’s Light in August (1932) are all works automatically
1associated with guilt, even though shame plays an important part in them. Secondly, on
a phenomenological level and despite the semantic distinction between the two terms,
which implies their difference, shame and guilt frequently overlap and occur
simultaneously as emotions. We have only to look at one of shame’s definitions as a
2 3“guilty feeling” to appreciate this, a feature that makes them difficult to differentiate.
This, together with the fact that guilt is instinctively easier to define, means that shame
has tended to be assimilated under it. Revealing a plain and definite etymology and
concerned with clear-cut facts, lent authority through their legal association and our
unequivocal notion of right and wrong, guilt is a more transparent emotion than shame.
All-encompassing and less determined than guilt, shame is infinitely more difficult to
pin down; involving the desire to hide and disappear from view, its very nature is
disposed to concealment, a fact that hardly encourages critical investigation.


1 See, for example, their discussion in Helen Merrel Lynd, On Shame and the Search for Identity, New
York, 1958, pp. 27-56. Despite having been written nearly fifty years ago, Lynd’s work, combining
psychological and anthropological approaches to shame with history and sociology, continues to offer
new ways of looking at shame, and will be referred to throughout this study. In Pamela Fox’s study of
working-class literature in Class Fictions: Shame and Resistance in the British Working-Class Novel,
1890-1945, Durham and London, 1994, pp. 12-17, (also referred to in this study), she re-examines Lynd’s
theory concerning the role of history in the shame experience and shame’s unique ability to tell us about
dominant ideological norms.
2 The Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, ed. James A. H. Murray et al., Oxford, 1961,
s.v. shame (sb.), I. 1. c. Hereafter abbreviated as OED.
3 See Lynd (1958), pp. 20-26 and Douglas L. Cairns’ detailed discussion of shame and guilt in his
introduction to Aidos: The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature,
Oxford, 1993, pp. 14-26, both of whom are against an absolute definition distinguishing shame from
guilt. Lewis also discusses this overlap in Shame and Guilt in Neurosis, New York, 1971, p. 38 and in
Lewis (1987), p. 17. Indeed much of the recent research in psychology has involved differentiating the
two emotions, see for example Hoblitzelle, pp. 207-235 in ibid.
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