This title explores Thomas Hardy's engagement with Victorian legal debates in his prose fiction. Thomas Hardy's fiction is
examined in this book in the context of the seismic legal reforms of the nineteenth century as well as legal discourse in
the literature of the era. The book examines the ways in which Hardy's role as a magistrate and his interest in the law impacted
fundamentally on his prose fiction. It demonstrates that throughout his prose fiction Hardy engages with contentious legal
issues that were debated by legal professionals and literary figures of his day. It also argues that Hardy used fiction as
a forum to question the extent to which legal reform improved the lives of women and the working classes. The study looks
at the ways in which Hardy deployed criminal plots derived from sensation fiction and reveals that the genre's engagement
with legal reform influenced not only his sensation novel Desperate Remedies (1871) but also the plots of his subsequent fiction.
It offers a reinterpretation of Thomas Hardy's work in the light of a detailed study of his legal interests and his use of
contemporary legal cases and debates in his prose fiction.
It provides detailed textual analysis of a wide range of legal
interests in Hardy's entire output of fiction. It draws on the interdisciplinary study of Law and Literature. It examines
Hardy's fiction in the context of other Victorian literature concerned with legal issues, particularly sensation fiction.