‘The Worthy Encompassed by the Inevitable’: Hardy and a New Perception of Tragedy

  • Raymond Chapman

Abstract

Hardy was still smarting from the general execration of Jude the Obscure when he wrote a ‘Postscript’ to his original Preface, for the novel’s 1912 edition. His apologia explained that the marriage theme had ‘seemed a good foundation for the fable of a tragedy’ and that he was ‘not without a hope that certain cathartic, Aristotelian qualities might be found therein’. His gentle boast may be seen not only as a defiance of the reviewers but also as a pleased acceptance of those admirers who were beginning to hail him as a great tragic novelist.

Keywords

Europe Amid Ghost Heroine Clarification 

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Notes

  1. Quotations from his poems are taken from The Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy, ed. James Gibson (London: Macmillan, 1976).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    William Van O’Connor, Climates of Tragedy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1943) p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. See also J. W. Krutch, ‘The Tragic Fallacy’, in The Modern Temper (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1929) pp. 115–43.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Murray Krieger argues that in an age which comes after thinkers like Kierkegaard and Nietzsche there is room only for a ‘formless’ tragedy, which can best be accommodated in the novel: The Tragic Vision: Variations on a Theme in Literary Interpretation (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1960).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    quoted from Harold Orel (ed.), Thomas Hardy’s Personal Writings (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1966; London: Macmillan, 1967) pp. 170–1Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Dale Kramer, Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy (London: Macmillan Press, 1975) p. 35.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    In Thomas Hardy, The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy, ed. Michael Millgate (London: Macmillan, 1984) p. 265.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    F. Kiefer, Fortune and Elizabethan Tragedy (San Marino, CA: Huntingdon, 1983)Google Scholar
  9. H. R. Patch, The Goddess Fortuna in Medieval Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 13.
    Maurice Willson Disher, Blood and Thunder: Mid-Victorian Melodrama and its Origins (London: Muller, 1949) pp. 12–13.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    R. J. White, Thomas Hardy and History (London: Macmillan, 1974) p. 19.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    C. Leech, Tragedy (London: Methuen, 1969) p. 84CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Raymond Chapman 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Chapman

There are no affiliations available

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