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Abstract

Thomas Hardy’s account of Egdon Heath is famous. His portrayal of the Heath’s indifference to human beliefs and aspirations, though orchestrated in verbal rhythms that to some extent belie its theme, was to prove a formative influence on later novelists of rural life. It is not hard to see why: Hardy made of it an unforgettable image of that alienation from past traditions, and, more significantly, from past relationships with the world of nature, that afflicted so many late nineteenth-century writers.

Keywords

Agricultural Labourer Rural Life Verbal Rhythm Past Tradition Darwinian Revolution 
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Notes

  1. 6.
    A Vision of the Last Judgement, Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1948), p. 652.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Charles, Williams, The Place of the Lion, 1952 edition, p. 96.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Quoted in Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy, 1962 edition, p. 274.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    Details of Sturt’s life and work can be found in E. D. Mackerness’s introduction to the 1967 edition of the Journals. See also Arnold Bennett’s introduction to Sturt’s A Small Boy in the Sixties (1927) and Geoffrey Grigson’s introduction to the Journals of 1890–1902, published in 1941.Google Scholar
  5. For a more limiting assessment of Sturt’s achievement, see Raymond Williams, Culture and Society (1958), Part III, Chapter 4.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    William Ashworth, An Economic History of England (1960), p. 49.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    For an example of this in practice, see Richard Jefferies, ‘Landlords’ Difficulties’, in Hodge and His Masters (1880),Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    For a valuable account of Massingham’s life and work, see W. J. Keith, The Rural Tradition (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  9. 27.
    For an important corrective to the myth of a lost rural golden age, the reader is referred to Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (1973).Google Scholar
  10. 28.
    For Carpenter’s influence on Forster, see Two Cheers for Democracy (1951) and the terminal note to Maurice (1971). For Lawrence the evidence is discussed at length in Emile Delavenay, D. H. Lawrence and Edward Carpenter: A Study in Edwardian Transition (1971).Google Scholar
  11. 29.
    Edward Carpenter, Civilization, Its Cause and Cure (1889), pp. 44–5, quoted in Delavaney, D. H. Lawrence and Edward Carpenter.Google Scholar
  12. For a sharply critical view of the followers of nature cults, see Helen Thomas’s memoir of her husband Edward Thomas, World Without End (1931), especially Chapter 7.Google Scholar
  13. 31.
    Adrian Bell, ‘English Tradition and Idiom’, in Scrutiny, II (1933).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Glen Cavaliero 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glen Cavaliero

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