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Archiv der Kategorie: Hardy, Thomas
The Trumpet-Major – Thomas Hardy
The reader of Mr. Hardy’s novel, „The Trumpet Major,“ will at once ask himself, „Is not this author making a brave struggle against the scepticism, the pessimism that have been assailing him? Will not the optimism of the poet and idealist finally conquer the pessimism of the realist?“ If Mr. Hardy had died after writing „The Trumpet Major“ the last question might well have been answered in the affirmative. Few more charming, spontaneous, wholesome stories than this have ever been written by an English novelist. Sweet Anne Garland may well be set by Sweet Anne Page, and her two devoted swains, fickle Bob Loveday, the sailor, and staunch John Loveday, the Trumpet Major, are worthy to live as long as the language in which their adventures are told. This is the only one of Mr. Hardy’s stories that at all claims the title—the great title in spite of some modern critics—of an historical romance. The scene is laid on the southern coast of England during the exciting days of Napoleon’s contemplated invasion. The historical setting is worthy of all praise—indeed, as we shall see later, Mr. Hardy shares with Thackeray the power to move as freely in the past as in the present. We consider „The Trumpet Major“ to be the most charming of Mr. Hardy’s stories, and if all its characters had possessed the nobility of the unselfish hero and if its action had been more tense and pitched upon a higher plane it would easily have been his greatest work. As it is, it is one of the cleanest, most interesting, most wholesome stories that can be recommended to readers old or young.
A Pair Of Blue Eyes – Thomas Hardy
„A Pair of Blue Eyes,“ Mr. Hardy’s third novel, gives the heart history of a rather susceptible but very charming young lady, Miss Elfride Swancourt, who, by the way, is said to be unpopular with her own sex. It has at least one strong character, Henry Knight, the reviewer, Elfride’s second lover. It contains also one very powerful scene, the rescue of Knight from the cliff through the heroism and presence of mind of Elfride. It is not only an interesting story, but a very subtle study of feminine instincts, yet although a successful novel as a whole, it can hardly be placed among our author’s masterpieces. The last scene of all in which Elfride’s two disappointed lovers encounter her husband at her tomb, is pathetic in the extreme.
A Pair Of Blue Eyes.
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Plot summary of A pair of blue eyes(from Wikipedia):
The book describes the love triangle of a young woman, Elfride Swancourt, and her two suitors from very different backgrounds. Stephen Smith is a socially inferior but ambitious young man who adores her and with whom she shares a country background. Henry Knight is the respectable, established, older man who represents London society. Although the two are friends, Knight is not aware of Smith’s previous liaison with Elfride.
The Woodlanders – Thomas Hardy
In „The Woodlanders“ we have the intimate sense of the mystery and the passion of nature; again we have the wonderful power of describing rural characters; again we have the closely knit and powerful action; we even have glimpses of the old humor. Still there is an indefinable something that separates the author of „The Woodlanders“ from the author of „Far from the Madding Crowd.“ Twelve years have made Mr. Hardy a more practised writer, they have given him a wider experience, but they have not made him any more in love with life. On the contrary, as has been indicated, they have frequently made him see little in life except a purposeless struggle in the coils of an implacable fate. And so Giles Winterbourne in „The Woodlanders“ fails in the pursuit of his love, which is his life, when Farmer Oak, in „Far from the Madding Crowd“ succeeds. Honesty, loyalty, and love meet death for their reward; while a barely decent repentance on the part of a rather repulsive personage is rewarded by the love of a heroine who though scarcely noble is worthy of a better fate. It, therefore, matters little when we view „The Woodlanders“ as a whole, whether the descriptions of the forests to be found in its pages are unexcelled in truth and beauty even by Mr. Hardy himself, or whether the scene which describes Marty South dressing the grave of Winterbourne is the finest in the whole range of our author’s novels; for the total impression produced by the book is painful because the fate that rules its characters is to Mr. Hardy, as well as to his readers, the relentless fate of alien times and peoples. And yet how powerful and original the book is, and who else among modern Englishmen could have written it!
Under The Greenwood Tree – Thomas Hardy
„Under the Greenwood Tree“ is a year-long rural idyl. The nine chapters of the first part entitled „Winter,“ are taken up with a wonderfully humorous description of the old-fashioned wind-instrument choir of the parish of Mellstock trudging around on Christmas night to serenade every dweller in the parish, and with an equally humorous description of the party given by honest Reuben Dewey, the tranter, or wagoner. The other parts, named after the other seasons, commemorate the love of Dick Dewey, the tranter’s son for Fancy Day, the village schoolmistress—a love which ends in the most typical of rural weddings, in spite of the fact that the young rector himself is somewhat smitten with the fair schoolmistress who plays the first organ set up in the parish church. The despair of the old choir at the advent of this organ and their visit to the rector in expostulation are described with a humor that puts Mr. Hardy alongside of Dickens if not, as some think, above him.
The Return Of The Native – Thomas Hardy
Some regard this book as Hardy’s masterpiece. Here again we have a rural setting and a powerful and moving plot. The characters, too, are striking and well drawn, and one of them, Clym Yeobright, the hero, just misses greatness. Unlike Mr. Hardy’s previous works, it is predominantly a tragedy; but it is not a thoroughly artistic success, because our pleasure at the artist’s triumph is overbalanced by disagreeable sensations caused by the repulsiveness of many of his characters and of the environment in which they move. Mr. Hardy himself must have felt the effect of this repulsiveness, for his humor is almost entirely absent. A passion for excessive realism, too, has taken a greater hold upon this essentially poetic idealist, and it is only when he is in the presence of inanimate nature that his soul appears to be truly inspired. The descriptions of Egdon Heath in this novel, and of the effects of its sombre vastness upon its scattered inhabitants, are unequalled in modern fiction. But if nature has taken hold of Mr. Hardy as it has done of few men since Wordsworth, it has not disturbed him „with the joy of elevated thoughts,“ as Wordsworth sang; it has not proved itself to be the power „whose secret is not joy, but peace“ of Matthew Arnold; but rather it has proved itself to be the mysterious, inscrutable counterpart in the world of the senses, of that „insoluble enigma“ with which Herbert Spencer and so many modern minds have found themselves confronted in the world of thought.
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
„Far from the Madding Crowd“ has its inferior only to „Tess of the D’Urbervilles.“ It combines all the charm of „Under the Greenwood Tree“ with more than the power and interest of „Desperate Remedies.“ It is the first work to prove that Mr. Hardy possesses the power of creating characters that live. Farmer Oak, the faithful, modest, sensible hero, is a character that no one can forget, a nobler, a longer lived character, perhaps, than even Adam Bede. Joseph Poorgrass, Mr. Hardy’s masterpiece in the way of peasant characters, is a personage whom Fielding would not have disdained to create—Fielding who in the creation of characters is the Zeus of English novelists. Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine—Mr. Hardy disdains to give his heroines common names thereby linking himself to the romancers—Farmer Boldwood, Sergeant Troy, the maltster, are all excellent in their way, although inferior to the two first mentioned. But with his advance in characterization, Mr. Hardy does not fall behind, nay rather, he advances in his other qualities. Never has the life of the farm and the sheepfold been more truthfully or more charmingly described; never has the homely picturesqueness of the English peasant received so attractive a setting. The humor that welled up in „Under the Greenwood Tree,“ flows here in a full stream, witness Joseph Poorgrass drunk in the public house testifying to the evils of the affliction known as “ a multiplying eye“—an affliction which had a way of always coming on when he had been in a public house a little while, as he meekly confessed to Shepherd Oak. In style, too, Mr. Hardy has improved. He has become more practised in his use of that noble instrument, the prose of his native tongue.
Jude The Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Like “ Tess of the D’Urbervilles,“ the story of „Jude the Obscure“ is a manifestation of the author’s later manner—a manner which is a natural and almost inevitable development in a writer who possesses Mr. Hardy’s extraordinary capacity for observation, profound knowledge of human nature, and philosophical ideas concerning the problem of existence. Mr. Hardy has never been an author to write novels merely for the purpose of providing entertainment, or for illustrating in more or less persuasive form some preconceived didactic proposition. He has been content to take men and women as they are, and no one in English fiction—possibly no one in the whole range of modern literature—has been able to surpass him in depicting the reaction of circumstances upon character. In this carefully reasoned, closely woven narrative of “ Jude the Obscure“ he sets before us the entirely natural and consistent experiences of two sensitive and impulsive creatures, who have been profoundly and disastrously affected by the changes in popular thought regarding ideals of religious faith and personal conduct; who, yielding to their thoroughly undisciplined emotions, work out for themselves a destiny full of bitterness and sorrow. It has been said that Mr. Hardy is not a writer to work on preconceived theories,but he certainly has some effective doctrines regarding the behavior of the two sexes under similar conditions, and when one comes to analyze this story one finds that a settled conviction underlies its entire texture, and this conviction is that misfortunes and disappointments, which soften the heart of man and tend to make him more considerate and charitable in his dealings with his fellows, have as a rule a contrary effect upon the heart of a woman.
The Mayor Of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
In the setting of this story we recognize much of our author’s old power. The quiet rural town is set as distinctly before us as Cranford is. But the people to whom Mr. Hardy introduces us upon its streets are not the people Mrs. Gaskell makes us know and love. There is to our mind not a really attractive character in the whole book. The good ones have a tendency to become commonplace, the bad ones can hardly be said to be interesting. It is true that Michael Henchard, the self-made hero, is a remarkable character study from the point of view of a psychologist or a sociologist, but that does not make him a proper hero for a novel, and we are forced to conclude that even the genius of Mr. Hardy cannot long sustain its eagle flight when, to borrow a metaphor from Shelley, its wings are cramped by the constraining folds of the serpent of pessimism.
The Mayor Of Casterbridge.
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Tess Of The D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
This book has made Mr. Hardy one of the most prominent English novelist. The power and the movement of the story are so great that it is only when we read a review of it that we are conscious that its author had any purpose save that which is common to every true writer of fiction—viz.: to tell a story which shall please. But this unconsciousness of a novelist’s purpose is the highest tribute that can be paid to his work. Tess, the milkmaid heroine, has fallen from virtue through no fault of her own. Subsequently her great passion for a second and nobler lover sweeps her into a marriage with him after she has failed to tell him of her condition, although she has attempted to do so. Her confession of her secret to her husband is one of the most powerful and painful scenes in all literature. After the weak man has deserted her, she undergoes in patience a life of unspeakable torture, but at last falls again to her former betrayer in order to keep her mother and her family from starvation. Her husband returns to her, and in her remorse she stabs her betrayer to death. After a brief period of ecstatic bliss with the now repentant man, whose desertion has brought her to such a pass, she is seized by the officers of the law and led to the scaffold….
The Short Stories, Volume 2 – Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy was an English novelist and poet and a Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot. His novels and his short storiies were widely influenced by Romanticism. This edition, here volume two out of two, includes his best short stories as well as a detailed biographical annotation. In this book you will find stories like:
A Tradition Of Eighteen Hundred And Four
A Few Crusted Characters
Tony Kytes, The Arch-Deceiver
The History Of The Hardcomes
The Superstitious Man’s Story
Andrey Satchel And The Parson And Clerk
Old Andrey’s Experience As A Musician
Absent-Mindedness In A Parish Choir
The Winters And The Palmleys
Incident In The Life Of Mr. George Crookhill
Netty Sargent’s Copyhold
… and many more …
The Short Stories, Volume 2.
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Biography of Thomas Hardy (from Wikipedia):
Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He was highly critical of much in Victorian society, especially on the declining status of rural people in Britain, such as those from his native South West England.