In 1877 Walter Pater claimed that ‘all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music’, a maxim aptly illustrated at the time by the paintings of Whistler and, later on in the century, by the novels of George Moore.1 The critic William Blissett claims that Moore’s later novels are exercises in the ‘effect of Wagnerian music drama’, in which it is possible to observe the continuous melody gradually transforming itself into the unbroken narrative of the stream of consciousness.2 Blissett traces this tradition through the influences of the continental symbolist movement, notably Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Verlaine, and its effect on Irish writers such as Edward Martyn and James Joyce. He makes no room for Hardy in this evolution: and yet I hope that this book has gone some way to illuminating an earlier form of literary music drama which may offer an alternative bridge between the musicality of such texts as The Mill on the Floss and Ulysses.
KeywordsLost Verse Ecstasy Prose
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- 6.T. H. Warren, Review in the Spectator (1902). Quoted in Hughes, ‘Ecstatic Sound’, p. 138.Google Scholar