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Reading Hardy's Landscapes

Reading Hardy's Landscapes by Michael Irwin
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This book proposes that a Hardy novel should be read very much as a Constable painting is 'read' - the landscape as significant as the figures who traverse it, the background as important as the story. It analyses the recurring emphases and implications in Hardy's innumerable descriptions of birds, plants, insects, light, weather, sound, movement. The ephemeral lives of his human protagonists are seen to be half dissolved in the ceaseless patterns of motion, change and dissolution in the teeming world they inhabit. Hardy emerges as no mere story-teller, in the nineteenth-century tradition, but as a poet and a modernist who dramatizes a vision, a way of seeing and understanding the world. So far from being - as has often been claimed - an unsophisticated writer, he is a supremely coherent artist whose work everywhere shows the shaping power of his idiosyncratic habit of imagination.
Palgrave Macmillan; March 2000
184 pages; ISBN 9780230597921
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Title: Reading Hardy's Landscapes
Author: Michael Irwin
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