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Writing the Stage Coach NationLocality on the Move in Nineteenth-Century British Literature$
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Ruth Livesey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769439.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 January 2022



The Empty Road in Dickens and Hardy

(p.206) Conclusion
Writing the Stage Coach Nation

Ruth Livesey

Oxford University Press

The Conclusion contrasts late works by Dickens, ‘An Old Stage Coaching House’ (1863) and his portmanteau Christmas Book, Mugby Junction (1866), with Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders (1887). The strong and conscious regionalism of Hardy’s fiction differs from the portable locality of the ‘just’ past in the earlier Victorian novels examined in the previous chapters. Hardy teased readers’ desire to locate the ‘real’ places in which his novels are set, especially with his authorization of the Wessex map in editions of his novels from 1895 onwards. The map, I suggest, externalizes the imaginative process of moving through the local into a national frame which is implicit in the novels studied earlier in this book. Dickens’s Barbox tales, by contrast, mark the emergence of the idea of a railway as a network in which identity and community arise from crossing points and junctions.

Keywords:   Dickens, Mugby Junction, Barbox Brothers, The Signalman, Hardy, The Woodlanders, Wessex, stage coach, rail, network

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