Thomas Hardy : the critical heritage by Hardy, Thomas; Cox, Reginald Gordon; Hardy, Thomas

By Hardy, Thomas; Cox, Reginald Gordon; Hardy, Thomas

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By Hardy, Thomas; Cox, Reginald Gordon; Hardy, Thomas

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Two notable reviews of this volume were Lytton Strachey’s in the New Statesman (No. 76), with its analysis of Hardy’s conversational tone and rhythms; and Laurence Binyon’s in the Bookman (No. 77) with its remarks on the incongruity ‘between the prosaic plainness of the speech and the tight structure of rather elaborate lyric to which it is trimmed’, and on ‘the tenderness that is very deep in the texture of his art’. The last article reprinted in this selection (No. 78) is Gosse’s 1918 essay in the Edinburgh Review on Hardy’s lyrical poetry up to and including Moments of Vision, a very fair and perceptive account, if sometimes over-indulgent to defects.

With the exception of a rather common fault in able sketches of villains, Manston is well done. The fault we mean is a cumulation of gifts and excellences, bodily and mental, on the undesirable person, until he becomes an Alcibiades in form and brain, and a Crichton in accomplishments. Even this fault, however, runs to no wild excess in the volumes before us; the author of Desperate Remedies has from first to last kept himself well in hand, and he has much too clear an eye for art to indulge himself, as some writers do, in drawing what is hideous or monstrous for mere monstrosity’s sake.

Xxix significantly named Free Review (January 1896, V. 387) Geoffrey Mortimer spoke of ‘the supreme achievement of a great artist in the broad and splendid maturity of a notable career’. He found the scene of the child-murders ‘one of the most heartrending in fiction’ and the general philosophy saner and more moral than any complacent glossing-over of unpleasant facts. Magazines associated with the Aesthetic movement also tended to give Jude a favourable reception. Jerome’s Idler (No. 55) Richard le Gallienne deplored Mrs.

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