• Nataša V. Ninčetović University of Priština in Kosovska Mitrovica Faculty of Philosophy Department of English Language and Literature



ecology, anthropocentrism, Hardy, social Darwinism, biophilia


Jude the Obscure (1895) is traditionally interpreted as Thomas Hardy’s bleakest and most pessimistic novel. From the perspective of ecocriticism, it may be viewed as the author’s endeavour to challenge the dominant anthropocentric attitude of the nineteenth century. Relying on Darwin’s theory of the common origin of species, Hardy believed that people should recognise their connectedness and dependence on the whole living world. The novel implies that man should abandon his self-centeredness and embrace other perspectives. This, however, does not mean that Hardy does not see people as valuable and important. In a world where religion loses its power we should rely on other people. The implication of Jude the Obscure is that the way we treat each other is linked to the way we treat nature. Hardy’s pessimism is the consequence of his realisation that ideas of Darwin were manipulated and (mal)adjusted to society. The character of Jude Fawley is doomed to tragedy due to his hypersensitivity, which is incorrectly perceived as a flaw in the society which promotes autonomy and separateness instead of connectedness and mutual dependence.


Bate, Jonathan (1999), “Culture and Environment: From Austen to Hardy”, New Literary History, Vol. 30, No. 3, 541–560,

Beer, Gillian (2000), Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Birch, Brian (1981), “Wessex, Hardy and the Nature Novelists”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 6, No. 3, 348–358, doi:10.2307/622293.

Cohn, Elisha (2010), “‘No Insignificant Creature’: Thomas Hardy’s Ethical Turn”, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 64, No. 4, 494–520,

Danlami, Amadou and Louis Bertin Amougou (2021), “Ecofeminist Colourings in the Works of Chinua Achebe and Thomas Hardy”, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, 24–31.

Ebbatson, Roger (1982), The Evolutionary Self: Hardy, Forster and Lawrence, Brighton: The Harvester Press Limited.

Estanove, Laurence (2016), “Hardy’s Humanity: ‘A Strange Respect for the Individual, an Extraordinary Respect’”, Fathom, Vol. 4, 1–15, doi: 10.4000/fathom.690.

Fischler, Alexander (1981), “An Affinity for Birds: Kindness in Hardy’s ‘Jude the Obscure’”, Studies in the Novel, Vol. 13, No. 3, 250-265,

Fromm, Erich (2010), The Heart of the Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil, New York: AMHF Books.

Gilligan, Carol (1985), “In a Different Voice: Women’s Conception of Self and Morality”, Future of Difference, ed. Hester Einsenstein and Alice Jardine, New York: Barnard College UP, 274–317.

Hardy, Thomas (1980), The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Volume Two 1893–1901, ed. Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate, Oxford: Clarendon P.

Hardy, Thomas (2002), Jude the Obscure, ed. Patricia Ingham, Oxford: Oxford UP.

Kerridge, Richard (2001), “Ecological Hardy”, Beyond Nature Writing: Expanding the Boundaries of Ecocriticism, ed. Karla Armbuster and Kathleen R. Wallace, Charlottesville:Virginia UP, 126–142.

Levine, George (2017), Hardy and Darwin: An Enchanting Hardy, Reading Thomas Hardy, ed. George Levine, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 26–46,

Miller, John MacNeill (2020), “Mischaracterizing the Environment: Hardy, Darwin and the Art of Ecological Writing”, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, Vol. 62, No. 2, 149–177,

Millgate, Michael (2004), Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited, Oxford: Oxford UP.

Morton, Timothy (2010), The Ecological Thought, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Harvard UP.

Pepper, David (1996), Modern Environmentalism: An Introduction, London: Routledge.

Tait, Adrian (2016), “‘A Merciful Man’: Hardy and the Thinking of (In)humanity”, Fathom, Vol. 4,

Tošić, Jelica (2006), “Ecocriticism – Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature and Environment”, Facta Universitatis, Vol. 3, No. 1, 43–50.

Zhang, Chengping (2010), Moments of Vision: Thomas Hardy, Literature and Ethics (unpublished doctoral dissertation), Hong Kong: Hong Kong UP.




How to Cite

Ninčetović, N. V. . (2022). AN ECOCRITICAL READING OF THOMAS HARDY’S JUDE THE OBSCURE . PHILOLOGIST – Journal of Language, Literature, and Cultural Studies, 13(26), 358–369.