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67 The next and last letter, postmarked Paris, 11 July 1898, was forwarded from G's address in London, 72 South Audley Street, to the Scots Colleges "Nous sommes arrivés, toi et moi, presque la même année, à un tournant de notre vie . . . ." Loüys asks if G is content with his decision and recalls that he gathers from Jean de Mitty that G had imported the word "smart" into Paris s "quel succès ils ont fait à cette petite syllabe'." After the raillery of the first part of the letter, the conclusion is sincere and affectionate, concluding with "Ton dévoué." Loüys' turning point was his marriage, which was to prove unseccessful . His aesthetic hedonism could not touch G. G, though, kept his side of the correspondence, but there is no record of the two having fürther contact. REVIEWS 1. An Unnecessary Book on Hardy James Richardson. THOMAS HARDY. THE POETRY OF NECESSITY (Chicago & Lond: University of Chicago P, 1977)After J. 0. Bailey's The Poetry of Thomas Hardy. A Handbook and Commentary (1970) , Donald Davie's Thomas Hardy and British Poetry (1973), Paul Zietlow's Moments of Vision. The Poetry of Thomas Hardy (1974), Tom Paulin's Thomas Hardy. The Poetry of Perception (1975) and F.B. Pinion's A Commentary on the Poems of Thomas Hardy (1976), this is the sixth book on Hardy's poetry published in the 1970s. Six books in a period of seven years are sufficient proof of the widening interest in Hardy's poetry. An increasing attentic does not, however, ensure a higher standard of critical insight, and Richardson's book bears ample evidence of this. In his first chapter, "Necessity and Possibility" (pp.1-30), Richardson proposes to discuss Hardy in the context of his Romantic predecessors. His conclusions, however, are obvious and belong to the sweeping statements of the journalist. It is generally known, for example, that Hardy is "very consciously writing . . . against the Romantics" (p. 10), and that his poetry is both "an obsessive investigation of desire" (p. I5) and an "elegy on the death of possibility" (p. 15). Nobody would deny that Hardy's poetry is a compromise between strength and sentiment, a "blend of restraint and desire" (p. 11). The second chapter, "Other Lives; Hardy and Browning" (pp. 31-74) is even less convincing. For some forty pages the author tries to compare the poetry of Hardy and Browning. His results, however , are very feeble and could easily be paraphrased in a few sentences; Both Hardy's and Browning's poetry are characterized by the interplay between resignation and desire, necessity and possibility, "habit and chaos, limitation and multiplicity, form and formlessness" (p. 57). "Monolithic Hardy" favours necessity 68 and the familiar, "protean Browning" favours possibility and the exotic (p. 57)· Hardy and Browning share "an implicit myth of their origins in Romanticism" (p. 32), a fascination with the grotesque, the dissociation of knowledge and love, the subordination of feeling to knowledge. In the third chapter, "Style and Self-Division" (pp. 75-1°4), Richardson comments on the early reception of Hardy's poems, on the "growing consensus as to which poems comprise the Hardy canon" (p. 77), on the stylistic peculiarities of his poetry, on the "thwarting of expectation" (p. 84) as a typical feature of his poems and on his final lines. If this chapter, the best of Richardson's book, does not supply any new information, it offers at least a few perceptive interpretations and some interesting critical insights: "Hardy believes that language must struggle continuously against evaporation, even to the point of becoming 'unpoetic' in order to assert itself" (p. 97); his poems are "artifacts - they assert their madeness, their physicality" (pp. 78-79). The title of the fourth chapter, "Old Furnitures Hardy's World" (pp. 105-33), is borrowed from the poem "Old Furniture" (Collected Poems, p. 456). In this part of the book Richardson comments on a major feature of Hardy's poetry which he calls "a'religion of nostalgia, a communal rite of memory" (p. 110); "Hardy's specters, intuitions, voices, and omens are the complaints of the forgotten" (p. 111). The author compares,Hardy's...


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