Warm-Hearted Love in a Cold World: Sexuality, Nature, and Modernity in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover
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While examining Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the importance of the themes of sexuality and nature is apparent. In this thesis, the exploration of sexuality and nature being at odds with different incarnations of modernity is argued. Sexuality, in this thesis, is referring to sexual behaviors and activity. Nature is referring to both the untamed and calm wilderness. Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles displays sexuality and nature being at odds with modernity as science. In Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, sexuality and nature are at odds with industrial modernity. In regards to Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, this thesis primarily focuses on sexuality, nature, and modernity as presented in its central characters, Tess Durbeyfield, Angel Clare, and Alec d’Urberville. Tess is presented as a sexual being who has connection to nature but is misread and objectified by Angel and Alec. Tess’s treatment can be further understood by focusing on gender relations in the Victorian Era. In viewing Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, this thesis focuses on sexuality and nature as two parts of a whole that are at odds with modernity. The characteristics of sex and nature are seen in Constance Chatterley and Oliver Mellors, while Clifford Chatterley embodies industrial modernity. By examining these two novels, I establish the relationship between Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Lady Chatterley’s Lover and how Thomas Hardy influenced D. H. Lawrence when writing about sexuality, nature, and modernity.