I'd Have My Life Unbe: Thomas Hardy's Self-Destructive Characters

I'd Have My Life Unbe: Thomas Hardy's Self-Destructive Characters

I'd Have My Life Unbe: Thomas Hardy's Self-Destructive Characters

I'd Have My Life Unbe: Thomas Hardy's Self-Destructive Characters

Excerpt

While reading, teaching, and writing about Thomas Hardy over the past decade and a half, I have continually wondered at his emotional capaciousness and his technical versatility. He has been described by critics as a pessimist, a meliorist, a tragedian, a humorist, a realist, a romanticist, an antiromanticist, a symbolist, a love poet, a poet of despair, an agnostic, and a writer with a theological obsession. In the playful words of his own brief poem, he describes himself as "so various":

All these specimens of man,
So various in their pith and plan,
Curious to say
Were one man. Yea,
I was all they.

Author of several major novels, hundreds of lyric poems, scores of short stories, and an epic-drama which may be this century's greatest long poem, Hardy is unique among English authors in the magnitude of his achievements in both fiction and poetry. It is little wonder, then, that Hardy . . .

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