"As a burnt circle": Thomas Hardy's Visible Voices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Following the 1896 publication of photographer and chemist Raphael Eduard Liesegang’s research into the formation of concentric rings in silver nitrate solution, this chapter examines the emergence of circular and centrifugal patterns in the visual imagination at the turn of the twentieth century, radiating outwards from Liesegang rings, back to the blue-eyed gaze of Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge’s “self-made” blotting paper patterns and Margaret Watts Hughes’s “voice figures” drawn in striations of sand, and ahead to toroidal models of time in Thomas Hardy’s poetry. Through close reading of Hardy’s elegiac sequence “Poems of 1912–1913,” this chapter proposes the visible voices of Hardy’s genii loci are to be considered less the inheritors of the topographical tradition but more material articulations of deep time, preparing the ground for the mid-twentieth-century emergence of site-specific land art and performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExcavating Modernity
Subtitle of host publicationPhysical, Temporal and Psychological Strata in Literature, 1900–1930
EditorsEleanor Dobson, Gemma Banks
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic) 978-0-429-45496-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-31776-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameStudies for the International Society for Cultural History


  • Thomas Hardy
  • poetry
  • geology
  • Margaret Watts Hughes

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