The Pattern of Hardy's Poetry

By Samuel Lynn Hynes | Go to book overview

9
The Dynasts as an Example

SOONER OR LATER the artist involved with questions of meaning and belief (and this probably means every major artist) must feel the need to impose upon his ideas the complex organization which a long work requires. At the same time the conditions of belief in our time raise special problems for the artist with such intentions; he can neither assume a core of beliefs common to himself and his audience nor adopt the long forms which artists have traditionally used for such statements. Consequently, the long works which modern writers have produced have tended to be private, difficult, and eccentric--Ulysses, The Cantos, The Waste Land, and "The Comedian as the Letter C" have these qualities in common, if they have nothing else. None is epic in a traditional sense, though all have epic elements; none has a traditional hero; none depends on or asserts traditional values. They are epics for an age in which epic action is impossible.

The Dynasts is Hardy's venture into this realm of the modern epic. But for our purposes it is something more than that; it is Hardy's great effort to put his philosophical and poetic principles into practice on the largest possible scale. That tremendous scale makes The Dynasts useful as

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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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