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Sexual Tyranny in Wessex

Hardy's Witches and Demons of Folklore


Gayla Steel

Folklore's ancient witch and demon figures fascinate us as they continue to materialize in literature with a vitality belying their age. Seeing these folkloric images as crucial metaphors in Hardy's works - as manifest expressions of human sexual aggression and as archetypal projections from his characters' unconscious - this study explores the tyranny they exercise over their victims. The book also vigorously pursues the astonishing truths Hardy unearths through these shape-shifting energies and through his use of related folk beliefs such as omens, weather lore, and healing rituals that draw the reader irresistibly into his charmed Wessex world.