‘Now it Remains’: Hardy and D. H. Lawrence

  • Peter J. Casagrande
Part of the Macmillan Hardy Studies book series (MHS)


If the first two remarks above suggest ambivalence in Lawrence’s attitude toward Hardy, the third asserts that ambivalence’s creative result. Lawrence had disdain as well as respect for Hardy’s accomplishment in the Wessex Novels, which he read and reread throughout his life. Though I have found no reference to Hardy in Lawrence’s history before 1910, he had almost surely read Hardy before this, his twenty-fifth, year, probably with Jessie Chambers and her family. Jessie recalled her father’s reading of Tess in the kitchen of the Haggs, the farm to which the Chambers moved in about 1897. Lawrence visited them there frequently from about 1900 on and of course transformed Haggs Farm into the Willey Farm of Sons and Lovers (1913).1 Equally important, four volumes of the Wessex Novels were in the Eastwood Mechanics’ Library, and Lawrence in all likelihood read them.2 In December 1910, Lawrence mentioned Jude the Obscure in a letter to his fiancée, Louie Burroughs. And at about this same time Lawrence wrote a poem titled ‘And Jude the Obscure and his Beloved’, a poem that indicates, as one critic has said, that Lawrence ‘had given the character relationships of Jude some analysis while the first version of Sons and Lovers was in progress’.3


Religious Knowledge Passionate Love Imaginative Space Winter Holiday Young Artist 
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  1. 1.
    Jessie Chambers, D. H. Lawrence: A Personal Record (1935), ed. J. D. Chambers (London, 1965) p. 110. Jessie Chambers recalled that ‘Hardy’s name had been a familiar one in our house since childhood days.’ See also Harry T. Moore, The Life of D. H. Lawrence (New York, 1952) p. 35;Google Scholar
  2. Émile Delavenay, D. H. Lawrence: The Man and his Work, the Formative Years, 1885–1919 (London, 1972) p. 43.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    See J. R. Ebbatson, ‘Thomas Hardy and Lady Chaiterley’, Ariel: A Review of International English Literature, 8 (1977) 85–6. Ebbatson identifies one of the four volumes as Two on a Tower.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    See Rose Marie Burwell, ‘Schopenhauer, Hardy, and Lawrence: Toward a New Understanding of Sons and Lovers’, Western Humanities Review, 28 (1974) 109–10.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    See Raney Stanford, ‘Thomas Hardy and Lawrence’s The White Peacock’, Modern Fiction Studies, 5 (1959) 19–28.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    See Ross C. Murfin, Swinburne, Hardy, Lawrence, and the Burden of Unbelief (Chicago, 1978) p. 187. Murfin continues, one of the weaknesses of The White Peacock is that ‘it never really transcends its most basic purpose, that is, to be a Hardy novel that shows Hardy was wrong’ (p. 188). Before Lawrence could write his own fiction ‘he must first write a novel showing why Hardy’s novels went wrong, thus convincing himself of the need of that which he fears may be utterly redundant and thus unnecessary-more novels by D. H. Lawrence’ (p. 192).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    I am much indebted in this summary to Keith Cushman, D. H. Lawrence at Work: The Emergence of the Prussian Officer Stories (Charlott-esville, Va, 1978) pp. 224–34;Google Scholar
  8. Mark Kinkead-Weekes, ‘The Marble and the Statue: The Exploratory Imagination of D. H. Lawrence’, in Imagined Worlds: Essays of Some English Novels and Novelists in Honour of John Butt, ed. Maynard Mack and Ian Gregor (London, 1968) pp. 371–418.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mark Spilka, The Love Ethic of D. H. Lawrence (London, 1966) p. 43;Google Scholar
  10. see also John Paterson, ‘Lawrence’s Vital Source: Nature and Character in Thomas Hardy’, in Nature and the Victorian Imagination, ed. U. C. Knoepflmacher and G. B. Tennyson (Berkeley, Calif., 1977) pp. 455–69.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Ian Gregor’s remark appears in The Great Web: The Form of Hardy’s Major Fiction (London, 1974) p. 233. See Richard D. Beards, ‘D. H. Lawrence and the Study of Thomas Hardy, his Victorian Predecessor’, D. H. Lawrence Review, 2 (1969) 210–29;Google Scholar
  12. also Richard Swigg, Lawrence, Hardy, and American Literature (London, 1972).Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    D. H. Lawrence, The Rainbow (1915) ch. 13. All quotations from this novel (cited as R) are from the Penguin edition (New York, 1980). Subsequent references appear in the text.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love (1920) ch. 29. All quotations from this novel (cited as WL) are from the Penguin edition (New York, 1981) Subsequent references appear in the text.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter J. Casagrande 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Casagrande
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KansasUSA

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