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A Survey of Recent Hardy Studies

  • Richard H. Taylor

Abstract

At the still point of the Hardy world is the enduring art of a man who was, as Lord David Cecil said at the 1978 Hardy Festival, “tender-hearted and not very hopeful”: a gentle and exact description. Dr Robert Gittings has recently taken a rather different view of Hardy’s personal qualities. Gittings’s appearance on the biographical stage has been greeted by some as if he were the villain of a Victorian melodrama. The role is not, in a sense, inappropriate since this least villainous of men does pose a skilful challenge to the status quo. Instead of twirling a waxen moustache, however, he has come on propounding a revisionist view of Hardy’s character: in contrast to Cecil’s (and the prevailing) view of Hardy as “a good man as well as a great man”, Gittings depicts a mean-spirited and small-souled author. When one of our most distinguished biographers compounds indefatigable scholarship with what appears to be personal animosity toward his subject, the result is bound to be controversial, and I shall return to it later.

Keywords

Critical Edition Textual Study Creative Mind Great Poet Revisionist View 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Norman Page 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard H. Taylor

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