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206 ence as a French army private into articles on military strategy which were widely read and made piles of money for him despite being wildly and misleadingly wrong. The bogus Belloc, unfortunately, is all too visible beneath the cantankerous surface. His love of Elodie, for example, was far greater after her death in 1914 than in the neglectful years before. When she died he had her room sealed, and never passed it for the next forty years without kissing the closed door or making the sign of the cross. He wore mourning clothes the rest of his life, and used blackedged writing paper. But in her lifetime he would leave her in Sussex in a farmhouse with no electricity, gas, or water, for weeks and months at a time, to travel abroad or to visit comfortably with cronies. Later the remaining cronies were what made life between book-making (over thirty in the 1930s) bearable for the "thunderous defender of Mussolini, the violently scornful religious apologist, the fat old man in fustian, dripping crumbs and odours wherever he carried his smelly old bundles of laundry and baggage. . . ." Until he became senile and shambling in the 1940s (he died at 83 in 1953), he crammed his life with company, "new and old, young and aged, pious and protestant, raffish and grand"—antidotes for his essentially melancholy and frustrated existence. Perhaps what had embittered his life is the same factor which confuses A. N. Wilson, a fine satirical novelist and sometime biographer. Belloc believed his friends when they accepted his hyperactive gusto and his gift for invective as genius, and blamed everything and everyone but Hilaire Belloc when his work failed to live up to what he claimed about himself. Nevertheless, Wilson has opened the dusty window into Belloc 's curious literary world, and we can see his subject self-condemned. With some morbid interest we may even want to check the library shelves to exhume Belloc's books, now that we know more what manner of man created them. Stanley Weintraub Pennsylvania State University 6. THOMAS HARDY AND SUICIDE Frank R. Giordano, Jr. "I'd Have My Life Unbe": Thomas Hardy's Self-Destructive Characters. University, AL: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1984. $18.75 Through much of his literary career, Thomas Hardy suffered the irritation of hearing that he was too pessimistic, that his characters were so victimized by fate and chance that his vision of the universe seemed meaningless. Hardy always objected to these charges, and a number of his critics have continued in the battle of defending the dark moments in his novels. Roy Morrell's Thomas Hardy: The Will and the Way 207 (1965), for example, argues convincingly that Hardy's characters are more the victims of themselves than of any malevolent external force, and David DeLaura's important essay ("'The Ache of Modernism' in Hardy's Later Novels," 1967) places some of Hardy's most complex characters in the context of late Victorian anxieties and preoccupations. Now Frank R. Giordano, Jr., takes these ideas in a new direction by concentrating on the suicidal psychology of Hardy's selfdestructive characters. Giordano examines a number of theories of suicide, beginning with that of Dr. Forbes Winslow (published in the year of Hardy's birth) and then moving forward to those of Emile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Menninger. Hardy, it is argued, did not accept the narrow moralistic view of suicide held by his own contemporaries, but rather anticipated authoritative views that appeared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, after he had ceased to write fiction. The organization of Giordano's book is derived from Durkheim's typology of suicide types: Eustacia Vye and Michael Henchard are seen as "egoistic suicides," Farmer Boldwood and Jude Fawley as "anomic suicides," and Giles Winterborne and Tess Durbeyfield as "altruistic suicides." Though none of these characters is seen killing himself in a single act of violence, Giordano argues, all of them have life-denying impulses that lead them ultimately to death. Boldwood, of course, is the only survivor among the six, but Giordano justifies his presence by insisting that Far from the Madding Crowd is flawed because Hardy did...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 206-208
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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