Hardy’s Views on Christianity
A man’s relationship to his God, however private he may wish it to remain, invites scrutiny if it becomes the subject-matter of his art. The autobiographical substratum of much of Hardy’s verse — what Hardy called the ‘personal particulars’ of his life — is inescapable, partly because Hardy claimed for himself the privilege of recording in verse views that he did not choose to express in novels, and partly because Hardy believed that his controversial views would excite fewer of the ‘literary contortionists’ who had attacked the appearance of each new novel. ‘If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition might have let him alone’, he wrote dryly on 17 October 1896, at about the time he was renouncing the craft of novel-writing.1 His concern with the formal Christianity he did not intellectually believe in became even more marked in his creative efforts after that date; poems seeking to define the grounds of a true Christian’s faith in an increasingly non-Christian world may be found in every volume of verse that he published.
KeywordsBritish Museum Christian Faith Late Lyric Christian Religion Sacrificial Victim
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- 6.Kenneth Phelps, Annotations by Thomas Hardy in his Bibles and Prayer-Book (St Peter Port, Guernsey: Toucan Press, 1966) passim.Google Scholar