North and South, Dickens’s Great Expectations and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure: A Dialectical Social Criticism
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Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy in their novels North and South (1855), Great Expectations (1861) and Jude the Obscure (1895), respectively, represent the conflict between the individuals and society produced by industrialisation and embourgeoisement in the nineteenth-century England, which was widely represented in the Victorian novel. This dissertation uses the Frankfurt School critical theory, particularly the theories of Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse to argue that in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, the nineteenth-century bourgeois industrial society in England creates a hegemonic social order in which the individuals are dominated both in public and private spheres, by the hegemonic values of the middle class. Accordingly, the nineteenth-century individuals represented in these novels are shaped by a conflict with the bourgeois industrial society.