The Two Worlds of Imagery
WHEN WE SPEAK of a poet's "vision" we are using a veiled metaphor which expresses a basic truth about the poetic process--that in his art the poet makes his sense of reality actual by embodying it in the visible things of this world, that is, in images. Images are the forms of ideas and feelings, the intimate gestures by which the creative mind reveals itself.
Certainly Hardy thought of art in this way. He was aware that representational accuracy was not enough, and for this reason preferred, among landscape painters, Turner --"the mad, late Turner." Of Turner's water colors he wrote:
each is a landscape plus a man's soul . . . . He first recognizes the impossibility of really reproducing on canvas all that is in a landscape; then gives for that which cannot be reproduced a something else which shall have upon the spectator an approximative effect to that of the real. He said, in his maddest and greatest days: "What pictorial drug can I dose a man with, which shall affect his eyes somewhat in the manner of this reality which I cannot carry to him?" ( Early Life, p. 283).
Here Hardy makes two important points: first, that art is a complex of objective reality and subjective response (landscape plus a man's soul); and second, that the artist, if he