Article ID: CBB840458699

Thomas Hardy and the Value of Brains (2020)


This article reads Thomas Hardy's The Woodlanders (1887) and Jude the Obscure (1895) as ambivalent responses to the new conception of human intelligence that emerged from Victorian psychology and evolutionary theory and which formed the basis of what I describe as the Victorian biopolitics of intelligence. Although these novels reflect Hardy's endorsement of the new biological model of intelligence, they also register his resistance to what many late Victorians assumed to be its corollary: that mental worth can be an object of scientific measurement, classification, and ranking. I suggest that the work of the philosopher Jacques Rancière illuminates the extent to which these novels challenge the scientific reification of intellectual inequality and attempt to vindicate overlooked and stigmatized forms of intelligence.

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Authors & Contributors
Henchman, Anna Alexandra
Scarry, Elaine
Fisher, Philip
Law, Jules
Lane, Christopher
Gossin, Pamela
19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Victorian Studies
Victorian Literature and Culture
Harvard University
University of Massachusetts Press
Oxford University Press
University of Toronto
University of Chicago
Science and literature
Evolutionary psychology
Hardy, Thomas
Eliot, George
Collins, Wilkie
Darwin, Charles Robert
Tennyson, Alfred, Lord
Tylor, Edward Burnett
Great Britain
19th century
20th century, early

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