In this original and scrupulously researched book, G. Glen Wickens offers a new reading of a work which is often ignored by critics and students of Victorian literature, Thomas Hardy's The Dynasts. Wickens explores the monistic viewpoint of The Dynasts through reference to 19th and early 20th philosophical writings which have never before been applied to Hardy's philosophy. Using insights derived from the critical theory of Mikhail Bakhtin - in particular his concept of carnival - Wickens also counters the usual view of The Dynasts as failed epic or tragedy, and instead situates the work as a novel within the serio-comical genres. In doing so, he brings out new, violent implications to Bakhtin's theory of laughter and carnival.
Thomas Hardy, Monism, and the Carnival Tradition is the first book-length study of Thomas Hardy's The Dynasts since 1977. It will be of interest to Hardy scholars, critics of Bakhtin, and to readers interested in monist philosophy or nineteenth century history.