In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

31:2, Book Reviews less remains a source of strength in the poetry. Since a great many readers persist in viewing Hardy as a gloomy pessimist at worst, an honest one at best, Lucas's is a case worth making, and he does it well. But he concludes: "Hardy is a great poet. Yet something is missing." What? "Hardy never offers any explanation for why the past is so different from the present." Hardy, indeed, "covers over the causes of those discontinuities" so that they are "presented as a fact." His position, then, is judged to be "quietist and ultimately mystificatory" (49). The "intervention" Lucas wants, in Hardy's case at least, would seem to be nothing less (or nothing more) than an "explanation why." Is that how poetry intervenes? I think here of I. A. Richards' discussion of Hardy in Science and Poetry: "A poem does not accept the situation because it gives it explicit recognition, but only through the precise mutation of the attitudes of which it is composed." This, or something like it, is surely a more fruitful way of thinking of poetic intervention. Richards was speaking of the way that Hardy's poetry responded to the emergence of the scientific point of view, the "neutralization of nature," as it impinged upon the religious point of view. This leads to the crux of my second reservation. If Lucas's idea of "intervention" is at times too heavy-handed, his notion of what constitutes "large issues" is sometimes curiously limited. The "situation" Richards speaks of as being precisely recognized in Hardy's poetry, after all, is exactly one of the "causes of those discontinuities" the absence of which Lucas regards as a limitation on Hardy's poetic greatness. Lucas seems to me to discount what I would call "religious issues" or what a colleague of mine more tactfully calls "ultimate questions." This comes out also in his brief discussions of Geoffrey Hill and Charles Tomlinson, and may explain why D. H. Lawrence is barely mentioned. One need not be religious to feel that Lucas's concept of "large cultural, social and political issues" omits what many of his authors, certainly Hardy, would have thought the very largest of large issues. No critic, however, can deal with everything. And Lucas does not pretend to have spoken the last word. Modern English Poetry from Hardy to Hughes, if not exhaustive and if not always convincing, is vigorously stimulating within its limits. P. E. Mitchell University of Toronto HARDY AND THE MODERN NOVEL Peter J. Casagrande. Hardy's Influence on the Modern Novel. Totowa, New Jersey : Barnes and Noble, 1987. $27.50 Peter J. Casagrande's Hardy's Influence on the Modern Novel is indeed a valuable and needed study for two main reasons: it brings together important criticism which establishes Hardy's significant influence on the modem novel; the 211 31:2, Book Reviews study also furnishes fresh insights into his influence and achievement, especially a recognition of the extensiveness of the influence. Casagrande says that his "purpose is to order, extend and clarify what is at present a scattered account of Hardy's influence on prose fiction of the twentieth century" (x). He asserts further that—because of such experimenters as Joyce, Woolf, and Faulkner—Hardy "has been neglected as an influence on the novel after 1900"; though different from the experimenters in method, he was "not in vision ." Aided by suggestions from D. H. Lawrence, Marcel Proust, and Arnold Bennett, Casagrande finds in Hardy's writing a "new beauty" which "lies in the mystery of all origins" and which is "defined mainly in affective rather than in aesthetic terms"—a theory of beauty in which humanity is more important than art; this theory, Casagrande declares, is illustrated fully in the opening section of TAe Return of the Native, in which Hardy writes of the appeal of haggard Egdon Heath to a '"subtler and scarcer instinct, to a more recently learnt emotion'" (207-9). The scope of Casagrande's study, involving novelists in whom he sees the greatest influence from Hardy, suggests the outline of the book: major influence on George Moore, D. H. Lawrence, John Cowper Powys, John...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 211-214
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.