Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel

Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel

Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel

Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel

Excerpt

With many readers of belles-lettres "research" has a bad name. It is always gratifying to the professor to have evidence that the most conscientious technical study of literature may be made to throw light on fundamental aesthetic problems. Miss Chase's work is a case in point. Any one interested in Hardy will be interested -- if not positively excited -- to learn what compromises this great artist was ready to make with the views of editors, -- editors indifferent to considerations of artistic integrity and solely concerned not to give offense in the family circle. When all the bearings of the matter are taken, it is seen to amount to something more than a study in Hardy's literary methods. It is highly illuminating with regard to the professional ethics of editors and the general attitude of even late-Victorian England towards a consistent view of truth. When we consider what writer it was who got himself involved in this system of shifts and evasions, we have some intimation of why it is that our English fiction makes, in general, so sorry a showing, for profundity and seriousness, beside that of the French and the Russians. But here we enter the realm of the speculative and the disputed, and I will run no further risk of passing off my views for those of Miss Chase. Let her speak for herself.

JOSEPH WARREN BEACH

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