chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

The extent to which British domestic culture was influenced by empire is a matter of much debate amongst social and cultural theorists, and in this book the author join the debate by examining the work of an author not generally recognised as being an imperial writer despite the fact that he was writing during a period of major imperial expansion. The author argues that for Thomas Hardy, there were more profound reasons for relocating characters to colonies, and in doing so his own cultural relativism is revealed. In these distant countries characters like Swithin St Cleeve and Angel Clare begin to re-examine their feelings, their beliefs and even their morality. The concept of civilized, imperial country bringing conventional, Christian morality to primitive people is being challenged; a challenge repeated by Hardy on many occasions, particularly in his personal writings and in his poems.