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Jude the Obscure : roman du clair-obscur

Abstract : In Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), the heroine’s purity is both suggested by the subtitle - “a pure woman” – and stained by the desire of the main two male characters. The red stain that appears repeatedly in the novel becomes the emblem of her tragedy. In Hardy’s last novel, entitled Jude the Obscure (1895), the obscurity of the protagonist is highlighted by the rare colours mentioned in the narrative. The novel is mostly a patchwork of white, grey, brown, and black shades. As a stonemason, Jude is characterised by the dust on his clothes and on his hands, on his short black beard and on his books too. Though obscure, he often looks pale. In other words, white is opposed to red but seems to match black. Such a treatment of colours is indissoluble from the light effects that brighten and darken Jude the Obscure at once. As a result, the work takes on the shades of an old sepia photograph, while its powerful rendering of the characters’ tragic destinies recalls the chiaroscuro paintings of the Masters.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 18, 2019 - 8:57:25 PM
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Stéphanie Bernard. Jude the Obscure : roman du clair-obscur. Polysèmes, 2016, 14, ⟨10.4000/polysemes.476⟩. ⟨hal-02360283⟩



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