I do not claim the discovery that Hardy is repetitious. Professor Hillis Miller, for instance, said that “the novels repeat not only external situation, theme, and motif, but also the deeper organizing principles”.1 But I argue that the repetitions, especially taken with the use of autobiography and the stylistic and factual use of other writers, are a sign of limited power of invention. The volume of the repetitions and borrowings and uses of his own experiences is an essential argument for this conclusion. It makes critical discussion of all the examples impossible, but they do not bear out the theory that Hardy is merely developing and varying certain rich ideas, as Shakespeare does the idea of love and Conrad the idea of fidelity. Nor is he merely reusing the language and ideas of novels such as Desperate Remedies and A Pair of Blue Eyes, which he might regard as quarries for later work since they had not been widely read.
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