Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Hardy As Novelist And Poet

Hardy the novelist is a writer of much greater scope and subtlety that Hardy the poet- who- grand as he is- can be really rather monotonous in his grumpiness. You wouldn't know- simply from the poems- that Hardy was capable of a Keatsian sensuousness (as in the the evocation of the summer of love at Talbothay's Farm)- or that his ideas on religion branched out beyond a sardonic baiting of commonplace Christianity into- on the one hand- an empathy with rustic paganism and- on the other- a grasping after the transcendent (as in Tess's OBEs and flashes of cosmic consciousness)- or, again, that he was mightily- and angrily- concerned with the politics of the English class system.

Prose, of course, can be diffuse where poetry is obliged to concentrate - but perhaps the difference also has something to do with the Hardy of the novels being a young man and the Hardy of the great poems an old man rather set in his opinions.
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