9-8 lecture Hardy

9-8 lecture Hardy - Back to the country: Hardy: often seen...

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Back to the country: Hardy: often seen as "last voice" of traditional rural life, but more than that: • trying to record a way of life that was already largely past • chronicling the conflicting effects of a continuously changing world • refocusing our picture of what rural life was and is --the country never was "timeless" Hardy himself raised in Dorset, in SW England • He set all his works in a fictionalized version of that area that he called "Wessex" • Of relatively humble stock, father a stonemason • Formal education ended at 16 when he was apprenticed to an architect • Later went to London, briefly, to live and train—but returned to his roots in 1867 to write, and never left • Insider/outsider perspective; never an agricultural worker, himself at the fault line of change --but does not stress presence of observer, as we saw in earlier works --voices of rural society itself often function as a kind of Greek chorus, commenting on action --complicated position: writing about the country for city people who mostly saw country as "nature" or site of picturesque inferiors • Wanted to show more than "the rural": wanted to show individuals
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"The Withered Arm": In Wessex Tales Hardy wrote collected many stories set back in time during a period before mechanization • "TWA" set 50 or so years earlier than when it was written in 1888 To some extent this move is nostalgic, like the elegiac impulse we saw in Goldsmith—but Hardy saw the countryside very differently
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This note was uploaded on 06/14/2011 for the course ENGL 283 taught by Professor Geiskes during the Fall '08 term at South Carolina.

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9-8 lecture Hardy - Back to the country: Hardy: often seen...

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