View Poll Results: Hardy:

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  • Aye!

    11 84.62%
  • Nay!

    1 7.69%
  • Who cares?

    1 7.69%
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Thread: Thomas Hardy: Aye or Nay?

  1. #16
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    I don't think rural life is romanticised. They have a hard time of farmwork in Far From The Madding Crowd.

  2. #17
    Registered User wordeater's Avatar
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    Tess and Jude are brilliant novels, but Hardy is also one of the greatest short story writers. my favourites are Barbara of the House of Grebe, A Mere Interlude and The Three Strangers.

  3. #18
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wordeater View Post
    Tess and Jude are brilliant novels, but Hardy is also one of the greatest short story writers.
    He's also a very good poet!

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Seventh, I am not sure about this, but I think he may have slightly romanticised rural life. He seemed to deplore the changes that were occurring in the countryside. He seemed to think that increased mechanisation and tearing up of old rural codes and practices was leading to greater exploitation of the rural poor and damaged the fabric of the countryside. No doubt all this upheaval was traumatic, but there never was a time when peasants lived in bucolic harmony. Wages were better in the towns and the work was not so hard.
    I've only read The Mayor of Casterbridge and Wessex Tales quite some time ago, but I'm not sure that he romanticized rural life per se. Life is hard for a lot of Hardy characters, they're not living in a pastoral wonder-land, but this life gives them a sense of identity and community that seems to be threatened by industrialisation. I guess he asks if it's worth sacrificing that community cohesion for an easier life and would that easier life necessarily make them happier? I think a lot of people feel the same way these days with globalization.

    Anyway, I think I might read Tess of the D'urbevilles next thanks to this thread.
    "My mynde to me a kingdome is,/ Such preasent joyes therein I fynde/ That it excells all other blisse/ That earth afforde or growes by kynd"

  5. #20
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    Tess of the D'urbevilles " is a great novel and it shows all the miseries that Tess underwent and provoked her to kill at the end, she might be right or wrong in this for some but her life was a real misery

  6. #21
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pantagruel View Post
    I've only read The Mayor of Casterbridge and Wessex Tales quite some time ago, but I'm not sure that he romanticized rural life per se. Life is hard for a lot of Hardy characters, they're not living in a pastoral wonder-land, but this life gives them a sense of identity and community that seems to be threatened by industrialisation. I guess he asks if it's worth sacrificing that community cohesion for an easier life and would that easier life necessarily make them happier? I think a lot of people feel the same way these days with globalization.

    Anyway, I think I might read Tess of the D'urbevilles next thanks to this thread.
    I don't know which novels of his you have read, but I also think Hardy romanticised that 'old' Wessex world (the name of a long gone Anglo-Saxon kingdom) There is a development in his style, though, from Romantic to Naturalist (culminating in Tess and Jude). Far from the Madding Crowd is still very idealistic, although nasty things happen. But Gabriel is the quiet little reassuring shepherd constant in the background (nature against a self-assured somehwat new woman). The Mayor of Casterbridge already features a bigger conflict between the old and the new (the mayor dealing in corn without real bookkeeping or machinery; the Scot doing it with bookkeeping and machinery even science; I won't say which one wins). But the conflict scares and blinds the old at the same time. It mesmerises, hypnotises, but also scares because it is big, noisy and looks like it is no joke.
    I think the question there becomes, 'Does life really become easier, or do we make it more difficult in trying to make it easier? And if we have then made it easier, can we choose to go back on our steps if we find, on balance, it is wrong anyway or have we left the old world behind forever, regretting it in its wake?' The old world was naïve and lacking in quite a bit, but maybe we go too fast.

    I think that's where Hardy romanticises the struggle of man and nature. A bit too idealistic. Eventually, in Jude it becomes a question not about rural life, but about ancient man-made societal structures and how they can corrupt one's life to the point where it seems all pointless. Quite sad.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'âme ne se vide à ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scène VII)

  7. #22
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Rural life isn't romanticised. The Hardy characters have a hard time of it. But people living in the country have an affinity with their environment.

  8. #23
    The Reddleman Diggory Venn's Avatar
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    I will say right from the beginning that I am a massive Hardy fan, especially his prose works; over the years I have read and re-read all of his fourteen novels and four volumes of short stories. Like many on this Forum I started with one of the `heavyweights`, ie Jude, Tess, Casterbridge, Madding Crowd. It was `Tess of the d`Urbervilles` in fact that first introduced me to Hardy - I picked it up as one of the "must reads" of English Literature. I liked it enough to read more - surprisingly my next was `Under the Greenwood Tree`, virtually polar opposite to the latter novel, this being Hardy`s most pastoral and "jolly" novel. I then read `Jude the Obscure`. After UtGT this one hit me like a sledgehammer ! I have read on these forums that many people started off reading Jude and became so depressed that they could either not finish it or never read Hardy again. I think to have introduced yourself to Hardy with this novel, (his last written) is to jump in at the deep end, (and drown almost !). In retrospect I wish I myself had read Hardy chronologically, and I would strongly recommend anybody who has never read his works before and are intending to, or to anybody who has read Tess or Jude, and given up, to start from the beginning, `Desperate Remedies` being his first published novel. Failing that, an easy introduction would be his short stories - `Wessex Tales` being his first collection (tales of Witchcraft, Smuggling, Hangings etc - very entertaining actually ! ;-))
    Once you have "got" Hardy you will, like me, find it very difficult to compare any other writer with his talent. Strong words I know, but I have indeed "got" him...

  9. #24
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I am also a great Hardy fan, I read all of his major novels, but I don´t remember having read his short stories. I think he pictures a rural portion of England in warm colours and with ocasionally epic greatness.His characters struggle to find their place in the fastly changing world of the end of the 19th century with its new demands on men on women roles.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 04-07-2016 at 11:20 AM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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