Thomas Hardy's Universe: A Study of a Poet's Mind

Thomas Hardy's Universe: A Study of a Poet's Mind

Thomas Hardy's Universe: A Study of a Poet's Mind

Thomas Hardy's Universe: A Study of a Poet's Mind

Excerpt

The artistic and spiritual descent of the author of Tess, Jude, and The Dynasts, as it has already been frequently traced by critical genealogists presents an imposing maze of relationships and crossrelationships to crowned heads of the world's literary aristocracy. The stern singers of Israel, chanting of love, justice, and retribution,--Æschylus, prophet of a relentless Nemesis, lover of wars, tumults, and polysyllabic ponderosities of language,--the creator of Beowulf, with his ironical humour and his vision of Wessex moors pregnant with the doom of Wyrd,-- the heroic Elizabethan tragedians,--the Goethe of Faust's celestial machinery,--the Promethean Shelley, --Voltaire and Leopardi--all these figures have in turn supplied standards, parallels, and "influences" for the judicial critics of Thomas Hardy's novels, lyrics, and dramas.

Indeed, if we consider the boldness of the Hardy- vocabulary, the "packed" versification of his poems, the closely knit structure of his novels, the cosmic surge of The Dynasts, the restricted geographical field upon which universal and inevitable human dramas are revealed with a unique courage, sincerity, and flashes of grim earthly humour, we soon discover the impossibility of penetrating to the roots of his artistic organism without invoking the shades of his gigantic aesthetic progenitors.

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