Hardy’s Measures

  • Gregory TateEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This concluding chapter explores Thomas Hardy’s preoccupation with scientific and poetic measurement. It contends that the metres (or measures) of Hardy’s poetry, regular yet idiosyncratic, embody his understanding of a material universe which is uniform and quantifiable but at the same time inexplicable: while the methods of science enable the precise measurement of natural phenomena, those measurements are incommensurable with subjective sensation and emotion. This view of nature, articulated in poems written in the first decades of the twentieth century, was underpinned by Hardy’s knowledge of nineteenth-century physics and poetics. And it was further supported by his reading in Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, which affirmed the view, expressed throughout Hardy’s poetry, that the observations of different perceivers are irreconcilable with one another.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

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