The Pattern of Hardy's Poetry

By Samuel Lynn Hynes | Go to book overview

1
Hardy and the Critics

"THE TROUBLE with Hardy," a man I know once remarked, "is that he is nobody's favorite poet." By this he meant, I think, that great poets need great partisans of their poetry, and that what comes in the end to be the common, public evaluation of the poetry may originate in, or at least be influenced by, the partisanship. At some point in his career the poet needs enthusiastic admiration, true-believers to enunciate and formulate his virtues. Although Hardy came to the conclusion that "a poet may be much injured by overcriticism, that too much commenting and prying into motives, etc., rub the bloom off the poetry,"1 one might argue instead that criticism rubs the bloom on, and poems, like furniture, gain a patina from much handling. Hardy's poetry has not acquired a patina, for so far it has attracted few passionate admirers.

And so, while he seems to occupy a secure position in the hierarchy of English poets, and is in the anthologies and the textbooks, the reasons for his being there remain undefined. Most critics would, I am sure, say that of course they take Hardy's poetry seriously; but in fact few have taken it seriously enough to write about it.

The difficulties which lie in the way of liking Hardy

-3-

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The Pattern of Hardy's Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - Hardy and the Critics 3
  • 2 - Hardy and the Poets 16
  • 3 - The Uses O F Philosophy 34
  • 4 - The Hardy Style 56
  • 5 - The Search for a Form 74
  • 6 - The Uses of Diction 89
  • 7 - The Two Worlds of Imagery 109
  • 8 - The Question of Development 130
  • 9 - The Dynasts as an Example 152
  • 10 - The Final Achievement 175
  • Index 191
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