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ELT 38:4 1995 desperately to be born. Seymour-Smith gives a locally prominent place in the biography to the impressions of Hardy recorded by Hermann Lea, the man whose photographs were used as frontispieces to the volumes of the Wessex Edition of Hardy's work, and who published, in a format uniform with the Wessex Edition, a further collection of photographs and topographical commentary entitled Thomas Hardy's Wessex (see especially 600-608). Lea's Hardy, as presented through the lens of Seymour-Smith's concerns, is a humorous, wise, sensitive man, thoroughly a countryman, generous, communicative, wryly ironic. It is an engaging portrait, and its value is enhanced by Lea's refusal to let go any of the confidences Hardy made to him (or which he claims Hardy made to him—of course it all depends on how reliable you hold Lea to be—but that is the case with all anecdotal witnesses). Seymour-Smith has, I think, taken the basic outlines of his view of Hardy from Lea, and has interpreted all ambiguous evidence by Lea's lights. The resulting effect is sufficiently different from that provided by Millgate or Gittings to justify its presentation—or would be, were it given in a very much shorter space and without the accompanying faked witch-hunts. I cannot however recommend anyone to the effort of inducing labour—expending spirit in a waste of shame is not an enterprise to provide much satisfaction. Simon Gatrell ______________ University of Georgia 10th International Hardy Conference Charles P. C. Pettit, ed. New Perspectives on Thomas Hardy. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. xiii + 213 pp. $59.95 NEW PERSPECTIVES on Thomas Hardy consists of papers delivered at the Tenth International Conference of the Thomas Hardy Society in Dorchester in the summer of 1992. To these have been added beginning and ending studies by James Gibson and F. B. Pinion respectively , as well as one essay by the editor. Since their inception in 1968, these conferences have provided meeting-places for discussion by a wide range of scholars and others deeply knowledgeable about Hardy, and one of their great advantages is they allow speakers to develop their research in papers extending well over an hour—and, often, to expand them in follow-up seminars as well. The result in this case is a volume of essays which are all in one way or another üluminating, and many, in fact, exemplary. Among the more 518 BOOK REVIEWS outstanding are Trevor Johnson's on "Hardy's 'Other' Love Poetry"; Raymond Chapman's on "Hardy's Dialogue"; Lance St John Butler's on "Hardy, George Eliot and God"; and Timothy Hands's "Hardy and the Ideas of His Time." The first two attempt to refine understanding of relatively neglected aspects of his art: Trevor Johnson by an extraordinarily subtle analysis of Hardy's love poems not about Emma, and Raymond Chapman by a deft and searching examination of the often unrecognized sensitivity and artfulness in Hardy's handling of a wide range of devices of dialogue in his fiction. The latter two both deal with Hardy's "ideas," but come at that issue from complementary angles. Lance St John Butler considers Hardy and George Eliot comparatively on such broad topics as "Compensation" and "Meliorism" by way of defining more precisely how the historical circumstances of nineteenthcentury discourse shaped both the terms they used and the way they thought; Timothy Hands, by contrast, provides a detailed examination of Hardy's thought under five categories—religious, scientific, freethinking , pessimist, and meliorist—by way of arguing that, in spite of his own self-deprecation, Hardy was no intellectual innocent but a remarkably astute reflector of the enormously complex and changing intellectual climate during his long lifetime—and one acutely conscious of the relative and changeable nature of human discourse. Such a variety of approaches is characteristic of the studies in this volume and is exhibited by the opening and closing essays by James Gibson and F. B. Pinion. Both seem at first glance unlikely to be rewarding: the one because it is on such a grandly general topic, "'The Characteristic of All Great Poetry—The General Perfectly Reduced in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 518-520
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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