The Technique of Thomas Hardy

The Technique of Thomas Hardy

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The Technique of Thomas Hardy

The Technique of Thomas Hardy

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Excerpt

Since the death of Meredith and Swinburne, Mr. Hardy remains the last of the great Victorian masters. His extraordinary charm, together with his significance as an interpreter of life, has attracted many critics to write extensively of him, and especially of his novels. Poets of such distinction as Lionel Johnson and Mr. Lascelles Abercrombie have written beautifully of him in prose; and he has been made the subject of one exhaustive study, especially in reference to his philosophy, by Mr. F.C. Hedgcock, presented to the University of Paris as a thesis for the degree of Docteur ès-Lettres. University professors like Mr. H.C. Duffin, of Birmingham, and Dr. Samuel Chew, of Bryn Mawr, have made elaborate studies, now of the Wessex Novels, now of his whole literary output. The study which I am offering is more special than any of these. It is a study of Hardy's novels almost exclusively in reference to their technique.

Studies in the technique of the novel are, it seems to me, unduly rare. The literary history of the novel has been largely taken up with subject-matter, style, social significance, the differentiae of realism and romanticism. Until the appearance a few months ago of Mr. Percy Lubbuck's brilliant and subtle book on The Craft of Fiction, the novel has been very little subjected to that technical study which has been carried so far with the epic, the sonnet, the short story, the drama. By technique I mean the structural art of the novel: the method of assembling and ordering these elements of subject-

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