• Myth and Mithraism in Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge

    Author(s):
    Andrew G. Christensen (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    GS Folklore, Myth, and Fairy Tale, LLC Victorian and Early-20th-Century English
    Subject(s):
    Mythology, 19th-century novel, Novel (genre), Victorian literature, Iconography, 19th century
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/qxm0-qn75
    Abstract:
    What T. S. Eliot called the “mythic method,” even in its modern form, was not an invention of Modernism. A significant precursor is Thomas Hardy, whose Mayor of Casterbridge has long been appreciated for its mythological structure and wealth of allusion. Here I suggest a new addition to mythological interpretation of the novel: the Greco-Roman deity Mithras and the iconography of the tauroctony. Extending a Frazerian reading of Michael Henchard and Donald Farfrae as rival “corn kings,” I suggest that each character successively takes on attributes of Mithras. In addition to strengthening the allegorical element of the novel, this reading coordinates the repeating taurine symbolism in the mythical narrative and offers some justification for certain scenes otherwise belied by their melodrama.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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