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30:4, Reviews A NORTON CRITICAL EDITION OF MADDING CROWD Thomas Hardy. Far From the Madding Crowd: An Authoritative Text: Backgrounds: Criticism. Robert C. Schweik, ed. New York: W. W. Norton (Norton Critical Edition), 1986. $8.95 The Norton Critical Edition includes: a text based mainly on the 1920 reprinting of the Wessex Edition, with textual notes and explanatory footnotes; a discussion of the choice of copy text and of variant readings and accidentals; notes on the biographical and social background with a selection of letters to and from Leslie Stephen, and two maps, one of the Wessex of all the poems and novels, one of the topography of Far from the Madding Crowd; a section of contemporary criticism; a section of modem criticism; and a selected bibliography . Robert Schweik has rejected as copy text the casually punctuated manuscript which Hardy wrote for the Cornhill seriaUsation in 1874. He has chosen instead a much cut, revised and partially restored version which is essentially the Wessex Edition of 1912, with some minor emendations from the sixpenny edition of 1901 and from Hardy's handwritten revisions on his own copy of the Wessex Edition. In making his choice the editor follows Tanselle and Greg in adopting as far as possible the writer's final deliberate intention. The loss, as far as we are allowed to assess it, is considerable. In the final version of the manuscript, as in the Wessex Edition, Fanny Robin and her baby are brought back in their coffin from the workhouse to Weatherbury ; Gabriel Oak rubs out the "and child" chalked on the coffin lid in order to put off the moment when Bathsheba will know for certain that Troy has seduced Fanny and that she died in childbirth. In Chapter 43, Bathsheba opens the coffin and looks at Fanny and the baby; from this chapter, more than a page of the manuscript was deleted by Leslie Stephen, the editor of the Cornhill, in order to protect his magazine's circulation. On 13 April 1874 he wrote to Hardy: I have some doubts whether the baby is necessary at all and whether it would not be sufficient for Bathsheba to open the coffin in order to identify the dead woman with the person she met on the road. This is a point wh. you can consider It certainly rather injures the story, and perhaps if the omission were made it might be restored on republication. But I am rather necessarily anxious to be on the safe side; and should somehow be glad to omit the baby. Hardy had no option but to acquiesce in Stephen's cuts though of course the baby was not omitted entirely. His contribution to F. W. Maitland's Life of Leslie Stephen perhaps suggests that he felt some resentment. Three lady subscribers to the magazine had protested to Stephen about the passage where 490 30:4, Reviews Levi Everdene becomes a faithful husband by making his wife take off her wedding ring so he can pretend they are "committing the seventh." Stephen blamed himself for allowing the passage to be printed in the Cornhill. More than 30 years later, Hardy wrote It may be added here, to finish with this detail (though it anticipates dates), that when the novel came out in volume form The Times quoted in a commendatory review the very passage that had offended. As soon as I met him, I said, "You see what The Times says about that paragraph; and you cannot say that The Times is not respectable." He was smoking and answered tardily: "No, I can't say that The Times is not respectable." I then urged that if he had omitted the sentences, as he had wished he had done, I should never have taken the trouble to restore them in the reprint, and The Times could not have quoted them with approbation. I suppose my manner was slightly triumphant; at any rate, he said "I spoke as an editor, not as a man. You have no more consciousness of these things than a child." A little, though not much, of the manuscript version of Chapter 43 Hardy did in fact take the trouble to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 490-494
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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