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

48 Mr. Hawkins's "Foreward" states his intention« "to bring within a critical and interpretative framework the whole of Hardy's formidable creation in prose and verse, and to associate with it as much biographical and historical material as the reader may need to give depth and context to ... a comprehensive appraisal." Chapters extract from Hardy's autobiography what is essential to understanding the novelist's life, mind, and art. Hawkins illuminates Hardy's meaning and purpose in his novels, with special attention to Tess and Jude; he analyzes Hardy's thought and feeling as revealed in his major poems and The Dynasts. Fpr those who have not read all Hardy's works, he provides in an appendix a synopsis for each novel. The book includes eleven black-and-white illustrations and a bibliography of forty-two books from which Mr. Hawkins drew significant material. Hawkins's style is a model of clarity, simple enough for a schoolboy to understand, yet colorful and precise. In contrast with a mass of more or less irresponsible conjecture, for instance, the hullabaloo about Hardy's alleged affair with his cousin Tryphena, Mr. Hawkins's book presents a crystal-clear epitome . Of course echoing what many others have said, Mr. Hawkins states with authority his own closely examined and long-pondered views of Hardy's ideas, especially his faithful pictures of rural life in Victorian England and his compassionate treatment of our fault-laden human life in general. As a "professor emeritus" who published two books about Hardy and who, over the many years, presented some of Hardy's novels and poems to his students, I recommend that Mr. Hawkins's Hardy« Novelist and Poet be "parallel reading" in any course that includes a significant portion of Hardy's works. Students will rejoice in its firm clarity. The University of North Carolina J. 0. Bailey 3. In Praise of Parts loan Williams. The Realist Novel in England« A Study in Development (Londι Macmillan, 1974; Pittsburghι University of Pittsburgh P, 1975). $14.50. Mr. Williams' book contains interesting, even provocative, chapters but does not make a very convincing or original whole. The subtitle suggests the author's somewhat well-worn overall thesisi that the novel developed from a romantic to a realistic mode. The thesis breaks down as early as the second chapter, in which Jane Austen is dealt with rather sketchily. The insistence on a developmental thesis, further, is even unpersuasive if one uses Scott's The Heart of Midlothian or even Old Mortality as examples rather than, say, Waverley. Mr. Williams avoids an essential problem by glossing over the first two Scott titles in one brief reference for each while devoting sixteen pages to Waverley. in any case a weaker novel. Among writers who might have provided supportive evidence, Charlotte Bronte, Mrs. Gaskell, Charles Reade, Wilkie Collins, and Trollope are barely mentioned at all. 49 Williams does not help his case much with some simplistic generalizations about "truths that Victorianism obscured" (p. 201), nor with his concluding assertion that some late nineteenth-century "English writers sought to discard or transcend Victorian conventions and limitations ..." (p. 201). Williams brings us to the threshold where the "new realism" is about to appear in the work of Hardy, Moore, Gissing, H. G. Wells and Arnold Bennett there the book ends, rather disappointingly and lamely. What we have is a somewhat hit-and-miss prefatory statement to another book. This book, however, does have some valuable things in it. Although the book is advertised as dealing "with such major writers as Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, Eliot, Austen, and Meredith, Mr. Williams is actually most interesting on non-novelists, quasinovelists , and minor novelists. Thus, in Part Two, he has some interesting things to say about Edward Bulwer Lytton (Ch. 5), Harriet Martineau (Ch. 6), Frederick Denison Maurice (Ch. 7), and Thomas Carlyle (Ch. 8). Even here, however, ten-page chapters give Williams too little space for the more penetrating discussion one has cause to expect. There are sparks here and there but, finally, Mr. Williams does not manage to light a fire under his ideas. Arizona State University H. E. Gerber 4. Forster's Personal and Public Voices John...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 48-49
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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.