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The Expression of Things : Themes in Thomas Hardy's Fiction and Poetry
 9781845198121, 9781782844471, 2017032565

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
I ‘Expression’
II ‘No Harmonious Philosophy’
MUSIC
1 ‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’: Hardy and Music
2 ‘Tune and Thought’: The Uses of Music in Hardy’s Poetry
3 ‘Music and Context’: Hardy’s Poetry and Fiction
EMOTION
4 ‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’: Gilles Deleuze and Hardy the Novelist
5 ‘What I see in their Faces’: Facial Inspiration in Hardy’s Fiction
VOICE
6 ‘Metre and Context’: Hardy’s “Neutral Tones”
7 ‘Metre and Mourning’: “The Going” and Poems of 1912-13
8 ‘Hardy’s Two Voices’: “The Oxen”, Metre, and Belief
Notes
Index
About Sussex Academic Press

Citation preview

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For Ashley, Charlie and Joseph

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Copyright © John Hughes, 2018. The right of John Hughes to be identified as Author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. ISBN 9781845198121 (Cloth) ISBN 9781782844471 (PDF) First published in Great Britain in 2018 by SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS PO Box 139, Eastbourne BN24 9BP

Distributed in North America by SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS

ISBS Publisher Services

920 NE 58th Ave #300 Portland, Oregon 97213, USA All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Hughes, John, 1957– author. Title: The expression of things : themes in Thomas Hardy’s fiction and poetry / John Hughes. Description: Portland, OR : Sussex Academic Press, 2018. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017032565 | ISBN 9781845198121 (hbk : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Hardy, Thomas, 1840–1928—Criticism and interpretation. | Music in literature. | Human body in literature. | Voice in literature. Classification: LCC PR4754 H84 2018 | DDC 823/.8—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017032565

Typeset and designed by Sussex Academic Press, Brighton & Eastbourne. Printed by TJ International, Padstow, Cornwall.

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Contents Preface Acknowledgements

vi xi

Introduction I ‘Expression’ II ‘No Harmonious Philosophy’

1 1 10

MUSIC 1 ‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’: Hardy and Music 2 ‘Tune and Thought’: The Uses of Music in Hardy’s Poetry 3 ‘Music and Context’: Hardy’s Poetry and Fiction

23 40 67

EMOTION 4 ‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’: Gilles Deleuze and Hardy the Novelist 5 ‘What I see in their Faces’: Facial Inspiration in Hardy’s Fiction

81 99

VOICE 6 ‘Metre and Context’: Hardy’s “Neutral Tones” 7 ‘Metre and Mourning’: “The Going” and Poems of 1912–13 8 ‘Hardy’s Two Voices’: “The Oxen”, Metre, and Belief

167

Notes Index

186 211

127 143

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Preface In a note in his ghost-written autobiography, The Life of Thomas Hardy, dated January 2 1886, Hardy observed: ‘Cold weather brings out upon the faces of people the written marks of their habits, vices, passions, and memories, as warmth brings out on paper a writing in sympathetic ink.’1 On January 3 he reflected: ‘My art is to intensify the expression of things […] so that the heart and inner meaning is made vividly visible.’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 177) Taken together, the two notes can usefully introduce the view of Hardy’s writing that informs this book. Artistic expression would seek equivalents of an answering intensity and vividness for the ‘heart and inner meaning’ of what the writer feels drawn to translate – in this case the inadvertent testimonies of faces encountered in the street. Hardy’s readers will know that he often commented self-deprecatingly that his art and thought amounted only to a register of such incidental moments. Jude the Obscure, he famously wrote in the Preface, was only a ‘series of seemings, or personal impressions’.2 He himself possessed ‘no philosophy – merely […] a confused heap of impressions’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 410), and offered no ‘view’ of life, only ‘a series of fugitive impressions’.3 These disclaimers, and their telling shifts in tone reveal Hardy’s own longstanding perception of the tension between the sources of his art – in ‘impression’ and ‘expressions’ – and what he knew others might see as its outward failings of coherence, form, or vision. The Life, Hardy’s notebooks, and other prose writings often document the outward and inward facing aspects of this, as his susceptibility to fix the aspects of things engenders self-meditation: At S. Newton 1876. Rain, like a banner of gauze waved in folds across the scene.4 I cannot help noticing countenances in objects of scenery. e.g. trees, hills, houses &c. (Hardy, Poetical Matters, 21)

The key purpose in what follows is to acknowledge how such a capacity, and such involuntariness and incidental reflection, makes for those disjunctions that are integral to Hardy’s art, and produce its

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Preface | vii peculiarly individual features and transitions. The book advances a positive description of Hardy’s writing that uses three broad, interrelated themes – music, emotion, and voice – to investigate the expressive dynamics of his writing. Putting it most schematically, this means describing how his work turns on its exploration of intermissive and individuating events that conflict with the prescriptions of social and rational identity, and reveal the affective and physical bases of mind. This is as true for the reader as for the personae of Hardy’s texts, or the writer himself. Accordingly, the important issue is to describe how an often troubled drama of expressivity is as much a matter of the text’s own enactments as its representations, and the basis of the particular inwardness that develops between reader, narrator or poet, and character. These three parts of the book accordingly offer intersecting and overlapping discussions of this topic of expressivity in Hardy’s writing. Much of the material has been published elsewhere in recent years and there are some divergences in focus, scope, and approach, as well as incidental overlaps, that betray this origin. However, the various pieces are brought together with new material in the belief that as a composite the book discloses valuably complementary and cognate aspects of the essential disjunctions of expression and social identity in Hardy’s work. Accordingly, the Introduction will frame the larger discussion as well as the different parts by working from some close readings to draw out important aspects, linkages, and contexts.5 Then follows the first main part of the book proper, on Hardy’s representation of music in the poetry and fiction. This incorporates material written since my earlier book on this topic, and shows how extensively Hardy investigates human ‘habits, vices, passions and memories’ in relation to musical occasions and experience.6 The depiction of music in both poetry and fiction shows how the mind for Hardy has a physical milieu and an affective condition, as sentience develops expressions of intelligence and individuality that continually – and often with comic, romantic, erotic, or tragic effect – cut across social prescriptions of identity and the ironies of circumstance.7 The second part, entitled ‘Emotion’, further explores the connections of physicality, affectivity, and individuation in Hardy’s writing. Chapter Four examines the importance, even centrality, of facial expressions in the novels, both as observed and as involved in vitalizing occasions of eye contact. The aspects of a face in such scenes can even be seen to be a catalyst of Hardy’s novelistic imagination, and a paradigm for his sense of identity, so that plot – and the narrator’s understanding of his characters – can even seem functions of those transformative and uncontrolled moments where characters observe

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viii | Preface each other, or meet and exchange glances. After such encounters in Hardy, one can even say, nothing and no one are the same again. A similar, physically induced logic of emotion, correspondence, and selfdifference, bearing on active passages of response, sensation, and becoming, is evident also in the chapter entitled ‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’.8 In the light of this appreciative quotation from Gilles Deleuze, and themes in his philosophical work, this chapter surveys Hardy’s whole novelistic career in relation to the issue of expressivity, and its socially and aesthetically transgressive aspects. In so doing, it also engages with other cruxes in Hardy studies such as his representations of desire and gender; the critical modernity of his last fictions; and the complex relations between the so-called minor, more experimental novels and the ‘major’ fiction. The final section, on ‘Voice’, approaches the idea of expressivity by a different, if complementary, tack. It examines Hardy’s metrical accomplishment, in relation to three seminal and representative poems: ‘Neutral Tones’, ‘The Going’, and ‘The Oxen’. The close metrical readings (and there are a number of shorter ones of this type dotted throughout the book) set out to show in depth how far Hardy’s concern as a poet with the ‘heart and inner meaning of things’ is a matter of the originality of his metrical practice, and related subtleties of inflection, intonation, address, and the voice. These readings examine the internal relation between the metrical qualities of Hardy’s art, and the disjunctive issues and conflicts of subjective expressivity that are raised by theme and scenario. Each of these discussions also connects the reading of the poem to broader biographical and intertextual contexts. Speaking methodologically, the book broadly employs a mode I described as ‘affective reading’ in an earlier book for Sussex Academic Press, ‘Affective Worlds’: Reading, Writing, & Nineteenth-Century Literature.9 There the aim was to approach a writer through a motif (corresponding to the topics of music, voice, or emotion here) that would provide a thread for exploring what are seen as the constitutive affective and expressive dimensions of the writing. Without replicating that book’s long discussion of approach and critical orientation, it might be helpful to state it summarily: this is a philosophically informed way of reading literary texts that takes them as investigations of the embodied mind at the various reciprocal levels of writing, reading, and content, through the artist’s fashioning of an individuating style or voice. In making this emphasis, the main background theoretical claim developed in that book was that literary studies as a discipline has tended to mortgage the constitutive affective conditions of literary

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Preface | ix experience, in constructing the text as an object of study. The corresponding elevation of the purely cognitive dimensions of writing and criticism is claimed to be dysfunctional to the extent that its procedures wrongly assume – to paraphrase a remark of Stanley Cavell’s – that our primary relation to literary texts is one of knowing or belief. Rather, as this book also seeks fundamentally to show, our reading is constituted by a complex responsiveness in which our own individuation and reading of ourselves, and ungrounded engagements with language, are at play and at stake. For the reader also, expressivity is identified with an essentially transitional idea of self, seen as a power of self-difference that contests social prescriptions.10 The book, then, sets out to demonstrate a way of reading that provides substance for these claims. Hopefully this indicates nonetheless that the aim is certainly not to deny the importance of the epistemological in literature, but rather to understand its incorporation within the transcendental dynamics of responsive intelligence and judgement that the texts express and solicit. Indeed, one of the main themes throughout (addressed in the Introduction following) is the innately philosophical nature of Hardy’s writing within these terms, as against time-honoured critical lamentations that dismiss the philosophical in his work by identifying it with brooding moments of commentary in the fiction or poetry, or as the pessimistic fixations of a defensive autodidact.11 Virginia Woolf, to take possibly the most distinguished example, wrote that Hardy was ‘at his greatest . . . [when he] gives us impressions; at his weakest, arguments’.12 In a spirit of concession, one might even begin by agreeing with this, regretting his more sententious pronouncements and commentary, and citing his own remarks that his work possessed any controlling philosophy. However, the real difficulty is that such disclaimers and concessions obscure how Hardy spent a lifetime reading and grappling with philosophical and scientific issues. More importantly, they obscure the continual presence of the philosophical dimension as an intimate and integral part of the unfolding texture of Hardy’s writing, as in Dan Jacobson’s observation that ‘in mode and intentions’ the poetry can often be seen as ‘genuinely philosophical’.13 This fertile upward thrust of thought from observation is something that one detects time and again in Hardy’s own occasional notes, which are innately philosophical in nature, even as they turn towards literary treatments. Often (as in these examples from the ‘Poetical Matter’ notebook) they display an extraordinary and fascinating scope, resembling the little parables or thought experiments by which philosophers interrogate self or world:

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x | Preface The biography of an emotion, idea, aspiration, (as of a person): passed on from one to another as a coin. (Hardy, ‘Poetical Matter’ Notebook, 21) Conceive a person absolutely without a will, acting solely by the will of others, or by one external will; with boundless aspirations, nevertheless. (Hardy, ‘Poetical Matter’ Notebook, 21) Imagine everything a person, with a character: e. g. “Fiddler June”. (Hardy, ‘Poetical Matter’ Notebook, 59) Poem. The Unborn & the Dead hold a meeting. The former have summoned the latter to ask their opinion on being born. (Hardy, ‘Poetical Matter’ Notebook, 59)

There is a characteristic tension of thought and feeling that braces Hardy’s writing, and his words bristle with questions and implications in ways that is all the more rigorous for being provisional, momentary, and searching.14 One might concede that Hardy may not be a philosopher in any strict sense, then, while also suggesting that there are few writers more philosophical, and philosophical in his way because he gives us impressions.15

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Acknowledgements I have benefitted from the instruction and friendship of many Hardy scholars over the years. John Bayley and Patricia Ingham were doctoral supervisors whose influence has remained with me ever since, and I have been fortunate to have had close friends and colleagues with great expertise in Hardy, especially Roger Ebbatson and Mark Ford, and Peter Widdowson – who I worked with for fifteen years before his untimely death. I also owe particular and warm thanks to Rosemarie Morgan, Luci Mattison, and Phillip Mallett for their expert guidance with respect to various different Hardy projects and publications. I am grateful also to Anthony Grahame, Editorial Director at Sussex Academic Press, for his knowledgeable guidance, and to Beth Dufour for her help with organizing the book’s illustrations. Finally, I would like to thank the readers, editors, and publishers of the various collections and journals in which versions of many of the chapters of the book first appeared (though they have subsequently, and to varying degrees, been modified here). Of course, I would thank them too for their permission to reprint materials. The Introduction draws for two paragraphs on a piece entitled ‘ “For Old Association’s Sake”: History and Hardy’s The Woodlanders’, The Thomas Hardy Journal, Vol. xviii, 2 (2002), 57–64. Chapter 1 is a modified version of ‘Hardy and Music’, published in English, Vol. 46, (Summer 1997), 113–29; Chapter 2 draws in its first part on ‘”Tune and Thought”: The Uses of Music in Hardy’s Poetry’, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed., Rosemarie Morgan (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010), 269–84; and in its second part it incorporates an unpublished reading of ‘Concerning Agnes’, alongside modified versions of two other, short, pieces: ‘A Metrical Reading of Thomas Hardy’s “Afternoon Service at Mellstock”’, The Explicator, Vol. 69, 4 (2002), 207–11, and ‘Hardy’s “Music in a Snowy Street”: A Metrical Analysis’, The Explicator, Vol.73, 2 (2011/12), 92–96. Chapter 3 is a modified version of a chapter entitled ‘Music’ in Thomas Hardy in Context, ed. Phillip Mallett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 425–35. Chapter 4 is almost identical to this chapter with the same name: ‘“A strange respect for the individual”: Gilles Deleuze and Hardy the Novelist’, in Understanding Deleuze, Understanding

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xii | Acknowledgements Modernism, ed. Laci Mattison, Paul Ardoin and Stan Gontarski (London: Bloomsbury in 2014). Chapter 5 was first published as ‘“Moments of Vision”: Hardy’s Visual Inspiration’, in Palgrave Advances in Thomas Hardy Studies, ed., Phillip Mallett (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 229–254. Chapter 6 was published first as ‘“Metre and Context’: Hardy’s ‘Neutral Tones’”: Victorian Poetry, Vol. 51, 1 (Spring 2013), 81–97. Chapter 7 is a modified version of ‘Metre and Mourning: Thomas Hardy’s “The Going” and Poems of 1912–13’, The Hardy Review, Vol. XVII, I (Spring 2015), 28–44. Chapter 8 draws on two companion pieces: ‘Hardy’s Two Voices: “The Oxen” and its Contexts’, The Hardy Review, Vol. XVIII, ii (Fall 2016), 40– 50 and ‘Hardy’s Two Voices: A Metrical Reading of “The Oxen”’, The Hardy Review, Vol. XIX, I (Spring 2017), 28–36. For purposes of the REF audit exercise, the following parts of the book are within the 2021 census period: the Preface, Introduction, and Chapters 4, 7 and 8.

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Introduction I

‘Expression’

In the ‘Apology’ to Late Lyrics and Earlier, Hardy identified reading with what he termed ‘intuitiveness’: I must trust for right note-catching to those finely-tuned spirits who can divine without half a whisper, whose intuitiveness is proof against all the accidents of inconsequence. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 559)

In a remark dated January 1881 a corresponding kind of ‘notecatching’ was stated as the defining feature of the writer’s style, which involved seeing ‘into the heart of a thing (as rain, wind, for instance)’. [F. E. Hardy, Life, 147] To consider what such a ‘divination’ might amount to in light of the book’s larger themes, I want to begin with a reading of Hardy’s poem, ‘Wives in the Sere’. Tom Paulin claims that it ‘isn’t an essentially important poem’, and it is certainly a lesserknown one.1 It describes how a husband’s relation to his wife is first prompted then renewed by his transfixed responsiveness to that joyful flush of colour, or particular pose, that led him ‘first to choose her’. The inner reality of this marriage is stitched together through the years from something like a ‘series of fugitive impressions’, as he recurrently contemplates in his ‘careworn wife’ (‘[s]ome one charm the world unknows / Precious to a muser’). Close attention reveals how the poem offers micro-enactments of those ‘moments of vision’ that are its theme: Wives in the Sere I Never a careworn wife but shows, If a joy suffuse her, Something beautiful to those Patient to peruse her, Some one charm the world unknows Precious to a muser, Haply what, ere years were foes, Moved her mate to choose her.

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2 | I NTRODUCTION II But, be it a hint of rose That an instant hues her, Or some early light or pose Wherewith thought renews her – Seen by him at full, ere woes Practised to abuse her – Sparely comes it, swiftly goes, Time again subdues her. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 145–46)

The central thematic emphasis – on the repeated events of intimate and transformative connection between husband and wife – is given an appropriate sonic framework by the two braided sequences of identical rhymes that run throughout. This focus is particularly accentuated in the second sequence by the utilization of dynamic verbs (‘suffuse her’, ‘peruse her’, ‘muser’, ‘choose her’, ‘hues her’, ‘renews her’, ‘abuse her’, and ‘subdues her’) that convey the temporal dynamism of these reiterated moments of expressivity and response (an emphasis given also by the single noun in this list: ‘muser’). As another aspect of the poem’s sonic enactments, one could note how within that striking first verb phrase, ‘suffuse her’, a certain sibilance and prolonged vowel contribute a sudden efflorescence of sound, in accord with the coming and going of that ‘hint of rose’ that first engaged him, and in contrast with the seemingly unrelieved negations of the opening line, and its dispiriting associations of age and circumstances (‘Never a careworn wife but’ . . . ). It is also worth briefly considering how metre accentuates this expressive use of sound in this second chain of rhyming lines. In offering the following metrical transcription of this, I have employed (as throughout), Thomas Carper and Derek Attridge’s method,2 because I believe it to be more nuanced and clearer than conventional methods: -o- B o B o [B] […]If a joy suffuse her, B o O o B o [B] […]Patient to peruse her, B o O o B o [B] […] Precious to a muser, B o B o B o [B] […] Moved her mate to choose her. B o B o B o [B] […] That an instant hues her,

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Introduction | 3 O B [o] B o B o [B] […]Wherewith thought renews her— B o O o B o [B] […] Practised to abuse her— B o B o B o [B] […] Time again subdues her.

One notes that each of these eloquent phrases is end-stopped by punctuation – a comma, full stop, or dash – which further emphasizes the arresting nature of these occasions of glancing. Further, each phrase also ends with an off-beat, creating a series of what might conventionally be called ‘feminine endings’. However, where such lines would normally run on, in this case the lineation, end–stopping, and metre heighten the effect of these transitions as animated, transfigured, intervals in which the husband takes pause, as the expressive aspects of sensation impress themselves upon him and resolve into affection, reflection, or memory.3 As a general point, one can say that it is a common feature of Hardy’s texts that they imaginatively depend on such insurgent moments, when the physical becomes expressive and transformative, in events that often breach custom or social consciousness. Selfhood in Hardy accordingly would best be understood not through external narrative or social constructions of identity so much as through accidents, events, and encounters that surprise and discompose it, creating the conditions for desire or tragedy. In the book’s first part such features of often involuntary self-revelation will be evident in the discussions of musical experience, incidents, and scenes, while the second part will describe similarly how the ideas of emotion, facial expression, physicality, and becoming can illuminate our understanding of Hardy the novelist, and his career. One obvious, often touching or comic, manifestation of such processes of individuation in the fiction occurs on those occasions when the characters’ sense of themselves hangs in the balance, as they struggle to comprehend what their responses inadvertently reveal of their own unrealized desires. Following the fatal Valentine, Boldwood in Far From The Madding Crowd spies Oak and Bathsheba in the field. Equally, though, he unwillingly confronts a new perception of himself: He passed by with an utter and overwhelming sensation of ignorance, shyness, and doubt. Perhaps in her manner there were signs that she wished to see him – perhaps not – he could not read a woman. The cabala of this erotic philosophy seemed to consist of the subtlest meanings expressed in misleading ways. Every turn, look, word, and

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4 | I NTRODUCTION accent contained a mystery quite distinct from its obvious import, and not one had ever been pondered by him until now.4

Boldwood struggles with a very Hardeyan combination of feelings: Bathsheba is a closed book to him, while he is all too much of an open one. Within the provisional, open texture of the narrative itself, the reader relishes the circulations of humour, sympathy, and pathos produced by Boldwood’s newly baffled sense of what is outside his ken. This example might remind us that it is one of the most telling, if less regarded, facets of Hardy’s fiction that it is difficult to think of a character with whom Hardy never sympathizes. Of course, Oak or Bathsheba are equally as subject as Boldwood to the disturbing courses of desire. Every reader will remember the moment when she opens her lantern after having become entangled with Troy in the fir-plantation: The contrast of this revelation with her anticipations of some sinister figure in sombre garb was so great that it had upon her the effect of a fairy transformation. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 193)

The scene threatens Bathsheba’s self-possession and is a ‘revelation’ to Bathsheba of Troy. However, it will prove no less a revelation of the new, fascinated woman that he has begun to incarnate within her. She finds herself powerless to refuse his invitation to the hollow amid the ferns, or his suggestion that her maid, Liddy, be left behind for the sword-exercise there: An unconscious look of assent in Bathsheba’s eyes betrayed that something more than his coldness had made her also feel that Liddy would be superfluous in the suggested scene. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 212–13)

In Hardy’s work and life the value of expressivity – as unwilled, unpredictable, often ardent self-revelation – appears inseparable from an often self-protective inexpression, inscrutability, or withdrawal. The new-born baby who was ‘thrown aside as dead’ until rescued by the nurse who ‘exclaimed to the surgeon, ‘Dead! Stop a minute: he’s alive enough, sure!’ became an adult whose vitality and sensitivity could often appear to be concealed behind an impassive surface (F. E. Hardy, Life, 13). The adolescent who ‘tried […] to avoid being touched [… a] peculiarity that never left him’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 25), was hyper-susceptible to impressions, sensations, feelings, and emotions that continued throughout his life to pain him, and threaten

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Introduction | 5 to reveal him in spite of himself. 5 Immediately after this passage narrating his secret fear of being touched, the Life records how emotionally susceptible he was to impressions, as a boy of fourteen who ‘fell madly in love with a pretty girl who passed him on horseback near the South Walk, Dorchester, as he came out of school hard by, and for some unaccountable reason smiled at him’ (F. E. Hardy, Life¸ 25).6 As every biographer tells, Hardy was continually up-ended by his seemingly inexhaustible and lifelong capacity for romance. He was a man who continually in love at (surely a better preposition than with) society ladies, as he had earlier been in love with the pretty girl on horseback, or the girl who was the model of Lizbie Browne. In a later chapter I ponder whether Hardy’s amorous childhood relationship with Mrs Martin might have been more deeply formative than is often thought of the erotic patterns of his imagination and his fiction, whereby a male figure finds himself often bewildered and exposed before the fascination and allure of a female figure who retains the social and erotic power. It is easy to see how such sensitivities, and the transports they involve, would be inextricable from guardedness, self-collapse, powerlessness, and dejection. As early as 1866–67 Hardy acknowledged how intense susceptibility made for withdrawal, out of a troubled self-consciousness that sought to retreat within itself: ‘A certain man: He creeps away to a meeting with his own sensations.’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 55)

Whatever the sources of his reticence and sensitivity, it is also surely understandable that Hardy – confronted by the ‘impertinences’ of early biographers like Frank Hedgcock or Ernest Brennecke Jr – would seek to put such writers out of business, or at least off the scent, and it seems indisputable that his self-authored autobiography is a monument to such a desire.7 Ironically of course, Hardy’s snail-like capacity for privacy endlessly draws the biographer on, in pursuit of something hidden within the ‘two or three thousand small trees, mostly Austrian pines . . . planted around the house by Hardy himself [F. E. Hardy, Life, 173]) that shrouded Max Gate.8 Biographers often seek the magic key in relationships or intrigues (the relationships with Eliza Nicholls, Horace Moule, Florence Henniker, and others) or – more luridly – in speculations about other kinds of secret: the lost child with Tryphena Sparks mooted by Lois Deacon and Terry Coleman;9 the syphilis with which Robert Alan Frizzle claims Hardy infected her; 10 or Emma’s inherited mental illness by which Andrew Norman believed he could ‘pierce the veil of secrecy which Hardy deliberately drew over his

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6 | I NTRODUCTION life’.11 From this point of view, the Life was a fabulously provocative monument to Hardeyan misdirection. As David Amigoni remarked, its purpose ‘was concealing tracks rather than assembling a paper chase that would definitively reveal him […] seldom had a Victorian life and letters monument claimed so openly to be founded on “fugitive papers”’.12 Yet for all its failed artfulness, the Life also ironically betrays the characteristics of Hardy’s mind and art in a peculiarly polarized way. Its defensiveness outwardly marks its passages of wooden self-dissimilation, and organizational ineptitude and bathos,13 while making for a comically incongruous hide-and-seek effect as Hardy retreats behind the supposed, dispassionate, third person voice of Florence. At the same time though, what could be more Hardeyan than this series of ‘fugitive papers’ that fleetingly reveal the sensitivities of the inner man, largely through notes, reflections, or animated anecdotes? These piecemeal elements exemplify a sensibility itself deeply scored by sensations or feelings that can infiltrate his mind anew,14 even years later, as he described: ‘I have a faculty (possibly not uncommon) for burying an emotion in my heart or brain for forty years, and exhuming it at the end of that time as fresh as when interred’. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 378)

Certainly, the writing in the Life is liveliest (or most ‘fresh’) when it most becomes a vehicle for memorable past scenes: the youthful Thomas moved to tears or ecstasy by music or dancing; or fascinated by the comic impression of the preacher (who he imagines to be struggling with a smirk); or bewildered by his inadvertently upsetting his mother by his honest reflection on life; or lying back with his hat over his eyes, like the young Jude. Though advanced without pretension, they have a modest resemblance to Wordsworth’s spots of time, as if each anecdote mysteriously epitomized, with a certain uncanny insistence, some inaugural moment of self-expression and awareness. More generally, many critics and biographers have connected Hardy’s sensitivity and secretiveness with his social insecurities, so that withdrawal and a desire to blend in become seen as the self-protective means of managing the different pressures of literary ambition, and his defensiveness or shame over his origins or education.15 Hardy’s continual wrestling with the literary marketplace often seemed to involve a desire to preserve his own complicated authenticity and minimize elements of bad faith, as if he had been drawn into a nefarious pact. Mark Ford’s Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner offers a richly nuanced, comprehensive, and searching

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Introduction | 7 treatment of these and other issues, conceiving of Hardy’s entire career as betraying the ongoing ‘complexity of [his] negotiations, both imaginative and practical, between the provincial and the metropolitan’ (Ford, Thomas Hardy, xv). With respect to such difficulties and double binds ‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’, published in Longman’s Magazine in 1883, is a particularly eloquent document. Merryn and Raymond Williams forty years or so ago identified Hardy as a member as the ‘intermediate class’ between landowners and labourers, 16 and ‘A Dorsetshire Labourer’ is testimony to this, arguing for a nuanced awareness of the individuality and historical predicament of those rural inhabitants who ‘would appear’ on sympathetic inspection ‘as different [. . .] as one member of a club, or inhabitant of a city street, from another’.17 Hardy’s tone here has its own nuanced complexity that is worth pondering, writing as he is in awareness of the important socio-historic gap between the community of which he writes and that to which he writes, namely between the now increasingly uprooted rural inhabitants of Dorset (‘where Hodge in his most unmitigated form is supposed to reside’ [Hardy, ‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’, 265]), and his predominantly urban readership. As Simon Gatrell pointed out, such complexities meant Hardy in the essay ‘selected his linguistic register carefully, established the narrative voice as a member of the educated and leisured class acting for his peers as guide to a relatively unfamiliar sociological arena’.18 Indeed, within ‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’ Hardy appears to write at a painful and solitary cross-roads: between different times and ages, different places and communities, different incarnations of the self, and different classes. He is driven to record processes of painful separation which he can spectate and feel, but which he is powerless to influence, or fully to communicate to the reader who lacks his inwardness with them.19 His pensive, stoical tone is that of someone who knows he writes of a vanishing way of life to those who come after, and who live elsewhere, and who cannot be expected to share his affection for ‘the locality and scenery of the action, a part I am very fond of’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 358) And underneath it all, John Lucas has speculated, this compounded sense of disjunction might be intensified by elements of buried guilt. Hardy was one of those who left this world in pursuit of his great expectations, Lucas argues, and who was involved thereby in the process in ‘distancing himself from family and community’.20 In such ways, the divisions and suspensions of tone, and poignant emotional undertow, of ‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’ indicate some of the real creases and complexities of Hardy’s consciousness where his family and class origins are concerned. Its complicated

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8 | I NTRODUCTION stance appears obscurely informed by a valedictory, perhaps guilty, sense of displacement that he can never openly acknowledge. The essay was published three years before the serialization of The Woodlanders in Macmillan’s Magazine between April 1886 and May 1887, and it is worth very briefly considering the connections between them, since a discussion of how such issues of self-division are evident in the novel offers an illuminating little case study for considering not only how issues of expressivity connect novelist, reader, and world, but also how connected they are to context, and to Hardy’s shifting practice and evolution as a novelist. With respect to The Woodlanders then, one can briefly elaborate how its elegiac, meditative sense of displacement affects both narrator and character through describing a curious scenic motif that organizes many of the episodes in the book: the many repeated scenes where a character overlooks another – usually from some unseen vantage, without intervening or revealing him or herself – before the narrative unwinds into a new episode. These solitary and viewing figures powerfully suggest the narrator’s own dislocated sense of his relation to his fictional material (as well as to the Dorset of his family past), by embodying the incommensurability of ways of seeing and communicating which the text plays out as socio-historical drama. The failed reciprocity, and disintegrated sociality of such scenes in the novel are intensified in the novel’s design by the way Hardy creates a relay of such events, where characters successively overhear or overlook each other. So the novel begins with Barber Percombe, and the first chapter ends with him outside Marty’s door. The third chapter then enters Marty’s house, and takes Marty to Melbury’s house where she overhears Melbury and his wife talking; the fifth chapter introduces us to Mrs Charmond who is inside the carriage which passes Marty on the road, Marty having recently spied Giles’s meeting with Grace in the town; Grace thinks of Fitzpiers as the light from his house shines into her bedroom. Then as she goes into the woods with her father, she is overseen by Giles, who follows them unseen, before at the end of the chapter, as on several occasions in the novel, he sees Grace at her window at the close of the chapter. Then Chapter Eight begins with her, as she goes to visit Mrs Charmond. Then Winterborne sees Grace leaving, and Fitzpiers looking at her too. In Chapter Eleven Grace and father oversee Giles, as they are finishing their breakfast. He then brings in his new horse for Grace, but the resulting face to face only confirms the complicated nature of their new relationship, their fatal inability to understand each other, and to adjust to changing conditions:

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Introduction | 9 On their faces, as they regarded Giles, were written their suspended thoughts and compounded feelings concerning him, could he have read them through those old panes.21

The impossibility of reciprocity in the world of The Woodlanders is evident, further, in the related way in which everyone falls in love or becomes attracted to someone else, in another kind of tragic relay: Marty loves Winterborne who loves Grace, who marries Fitzpiers, who divides his affections with Suke and Mrs Charmond, and so on . . . Chapter 5 explores the significance in Hardy’s fiction of those erotically or romantically charged occasions when characters exchange glances, but it also claims that The Woodlanders in these respects offers a significant, problematic departure of Hardy’s inspiration. Previously, his emotional narratives often appear formatively to unfold from the moments where two characters disclose themselves and create mutuality through their glances. Indeed, this is taken in that chapter to be a kind of template for Hardy’s physically induced inspiration, as he himself stands aside to watch and wait, before the characters reveal themselves. However, such scenes become more vexed in The Woodlanders (as in Tess or Jude) because the novel is informed by a far more determining, socially informed, and tragic, reflexive sense of displacement and failed mutuality. The complicated and guilty feelings that swirl between Grace and her father and Giles are suggestive of the narrator’s own complicated stance, in this respect. So what is distinctive about The Woodlanders (as this passage reveals), is not Hardy’s sensitivity and externality to what he observes (since such features are constitutive and irreducible of his novelistic practice as he often acknowledged), but the reflexive sense that such a removed and troubled attitude is being meditatively shared with his characters: On their faces, as they regarded Giles, were written their suspended thoughts and compounded feelings concerning him, could he have read them through those old panes. (Hardy, The Woodlanders, 113)

The Woodlanders is a text that figures perpetually its narrator’s elegiac, oblique, and dislocated stance to a world that now appears only problematically readable through the historically determined ‘old panes’, as it were, of superseded forms of understanding and fictional representation, and whose most sympathetic characters are themselves acutely and tragically displaced. Finally here, as a novelist and a commentator on novelistic method, Hardy has suffered from comparisons with contemporaries like Henry James or Joseph Conrad. However, The Woodlanders – like Jude the

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10 | I NTRODUCTION Obscure or Tess of the d’Urbervilles – is markedly a text that can be read in such a way for its own internal, expressive meditation on the practice of fiction. The Woodlanders is a tragic text, though the tragedy it forges is that of a whole historical community, not an individual. Correspondingly, Jude offers not so much a deconstruction of novelistic form, as an increasingly conscious political and aesthetic demolition from within of what it shows as the oppressive, purely historical, fabrications of prevalent cultural codes, both lived and fictional. By the 1890s, the novel as form is conceived of as the repository of tragically unattainable, normative illusions of expression and relation. In a similar connection, Linda Shires has written of how Hardy in Tess overloads and parodies such traditional forms of representation and language so as radically to confront his culture with the impossibilities of its redemptive and idealizing fictions of womanhood: The flag at the end of the text waves ‘silently’ and the survivors are left ‘speechless’. But language does not fail because of narrative deficiency; it fails by narrative design [. . . ] Hardy’s subversion and use of silence, like his contortions of plot and intertextual mixing, help shatter the novel form as readers had previously known it in the nineteenth century. The entire final chapter of Tess offends the average novel reader with its deliberately badly written prose. Hardy’s decision to pair Angel and Liza Lu as progenitors of the species is designed to outrage. Hardy mocks the second-rate conceptualizer Angel Clare by providing him with a mini-Tess. But he also mocks the idealizing aspects of Angel in himself. Hardy kills Tess in order to free her from constructions put on her by society and by individuals – not to further idealize her, but to remove her.22

II

‘No Harmonious Philosophy’

Any discussion of the philosophical in Hardy’s work needs to begin by acknowledging his frequent, well-known, disclaimers that it possessed any philosophy. In the ‘General Preface’ to the Wessex edition of 1912 he denied that his writing was informed by any abstract ‘philosophy of life’. He dismissed the ‘objectless consistency’ and ‘convictions or arguments’ of philosophical systems, while identifying what he offered as ‘mere impressions of the moment, and not convictions or arguments’.23 In the ‘Introductory Note’ to Winter Words, he replied to reviewers who had found his previous volume ‘wholly gloomy and pessimistic’, betraying frustration that people still sought a coherent vision in his work:

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Introduction | 11 I also repeat what I have often stated on such occasions, that no harmonious philosophy is attempted in these pages – or in any bygone pages of mine, for that matter. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 834)

Earlier, the ‘Apology’ to Late Lyrics and Earlier had elaborated the denial that he was a cosmic pessimist. Hardy wrote that what ‘today’ was ‘alleged to be pessimism’ in ‘the present author’s pages’, was ‘in truth, only such “questionings” in the exploration of reality, and the first step towards the soul’s betterment, and the body’s also’, a pursuit of the best possible outcome, which he termed ‘evolutionary meliorism’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 557). In fact though, if one examines these repudiations more closely, it is possible to find implied within them the terms for a more positive description of the philosophical. Phrases and words such as ‘impressions of the moment’, ‘questionings’, ‘or exploration of reality’ can be dismissed as vague, but they can also be taken as bearing on a view of writing as exploring how thought is forced through bodily encounters – ‘impressions of the moment’ – that provoke interpretation. Extending this, the philosophical would then presumably be identifiable not with any separate system, body of concepts or theory, but as internal to the self’s attempts to read its experience, and as bound up with an ethical or historical questioning that leads individually and ultimately to considerations of the ‘soul’s betterment’ and ‘evolutionary meliorism’. Clearly, this might seem to be over-extending Hardy’s remarks, but equally clearly it is evident that such tendencies of thought can be shown to be implicit or innate within the writing. ‘According to the Mighty Working’ is a poem chosen fairly randomly to explore these points, though it is admittedly one that has a fairly explicit philosophical theme. The first stanza offers a conventional metaphysical view of the universe, according with a commonplace philosophical, even theological, theme of transcendence. However, this then becomes displaced as the second stanza opens itself to a more dynamic, provisional, and unconventional kind of philosophical view: ‘According to the Mighty Working’ I When moiling seems at cease In the vague void of night-time, And heaven’s wide roomage stormless Between the dusk and light-time, And fear at last is formless, We call the allurement Peace.

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12 | I NTRODUCTION II Peace, this hid riot, Change, This revel of quick-cued mumming, This never truly being, This evermore becoming, This spinner’s wheel onfleeing Outside perception’s range. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 571)

One notes that the theme of the first stanza is the alluring tranquillity of a crepuscular moment between dusk and dawn, ‘[w]hen moiling seems to cease’. The stanza’s all-connecting, centripetal, hypotactic construction comes to rest with the word ‘Peace’ and a full stop, as if the syntax were a microcosm of a benign transcendent agency producing harmonious equipoise, and offering an appropriate locus of stability and closure. But it is the tempting ‘allurement’ of this ‘Peace’ that is unravelled and revealed as illusory in the second stanza, which begins with an immediate reiteration of the same word, ‘Peace’, before depicting contrarily an incessant process of ‘evermore becoming’ beneath the threshold of appearances, ‘[o]utside perception’s range’. This metaphysics of unceasing generation is both described and mimicked by the dynamic, paratactic series of appositive images: ‘[t]his hid riot’; ‘[t]his revel of quick-cued mumming’; ‘[t]his spinner’s wheel onfleeing’. These features thus embody the creative resistance of the poet’s thought to consoling, possibly theological fables of being, or to benign visions of cosmic ‘peace’, and affirm its counter-vision of the contingencies of an incessant, multiple, process of ‘evermore becoming’. Clearly, the vision of the first stanza is compatible with preordained theological, or quasi-theological, views of a universe geared to some superposed, transcendent agency, while the second stanza unfolds a more active and creative philosophical view. Further, one might justifiably say that this latter creativity extends to the language, as each metaphor in this second stanza now successively condenses a different philosophy in germ, a singular way of seeing the universe – as if to exemplify Stephen C. Pepper’s celebrated assertion that ‘[e]very philosophical theory is a far-flung metaphor’.24 This active cosmos is variously figured as endless, uncontrolled change (riot); as exuberant, creative performance (revel); or as industrious production (a spinner’s wheel). Whereas a philosophical system might be semi-consciously bounded by one kind of imagery,25 this open-endedness slips these bonds, since the poem’s anaphoric proliferation of different images (‘This . . . This . . . This’ . . . ) – potentially infinite in extension – consciously highlights (and implicitly critiques) through its own provi-

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Introduction | 13 sional exuberance the role of unconsidered master-images in creating closed systems of thought. Accordingly, the poem gives a critical prominence not merely to the literary dimensions of the philosophical, but to the philosophical aspects of the literary, in so far as these images express that our perceptions of the universe are irreducibly based on aspects, on impressions that must also reveal ourselves, since it is we who shape what we see into metaphor. A deconstructive critic in the mould of Paul de Man might see such features of the poem as revealing the innate figurative confusions or conditions of philosophical systems and viewpoints. However, the poem’s critical emphases on the primacy of becoming over being have a cogency and rigour that resist the poem’s collapse into any totalizing schema, including a transcendental a priori of this deconstructive kind. The poet’s own linguistic riot or revel, and capacity for spinning threads of thought, manifest an essentially open-ended creativity of thought and sensibility rather than any fatal, conflictual, embrace between rhetoric and cognition. As the poem asserts that there is no moment expressive of Being as transcendent agency, so its language denies any stable, over-arching, single way of viewing and voicing reality. In so doing, it enacts its affirmation that there are an infinite number of ways of revealing reality, and all are irreducibly imaginative, as well as cognitive. On this view metaphor and cognition do not conflict but are endlessly productive of singular views or aspects of reality.26 Such features suggest why Deleuze was drawn to identify in Hardy’s writing philosophical ideas of immanence, becoming, and individuation. Without straining the point beyond correspondences, it is worth saying that the demystification of conventional or theological notions of Being in Hardy’s poem, and its affirmation of immanence, can be illuminatingly compared with a conception of expressive, self-differentiating ontology such as was central in Deleuze’s work, and his great philosophical mentor, Spinoza.27 For both philosophers, thought was a power of creative experiment, and the self or ‘soul’ was identified not as some transcendent entity, but as an affective power, defined by its capacity to increase or decrease expressivity through its encounters, and the relations into which it enters – those which augment it (as joyful, conscious, and active); or those that subject or it (as disintegrative, confusing, and passive).28 The section on music will offer a view of Hardy that seeks to draw productively on some Deleuzian themes and ideas of the self, while Chapter 4 explores how a Deleuzian perspective can illuminate tendencies in Hardy’s writing, and inform discussions of his literary modernity.29 Returning to the language of the poem for a moment, it is important to consider further political and social aspects of how voice and

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14 | I NTRODUCTION vocabulary contribute to its contestation of hierarchically invested appearances of reality. Consider its powerful use of dialect words or neologisms: words like ‘moiling’, ‘roomage’, ‘stormless’, ‘allurement’, ‘quick-cued’, or ‘onfleeing’. To begin with, these words insist on a voice that interrupts and overturns poetic decorum, fashioning itself from the historical materiality of words, and positioning itself between old and new.30 Further, this voice positions and individuates the reader too. The cross-grained, knotty texture of diction and apparently recalcitrant versification confront Hardy’s culture, and his reader, with old – or new – words that demand we take responsibility for hearing them, catching their accents in every sense, and construing their meaning. These words – sometimes coinages, sometimes resonant of forgotten historical or rural contexts – have a centrifugal pull of their own, away from the linguistic or social centre, and insist on a historically specific voice. The poem’s strange, seemingly rebarbative, idioms and intonation force a response from the reader while displacing the false ideological and normative coherences of what is considered educated or ‘poetic’ language. The reader must accordingly ‘tune in’ in to the tone and import of these words.31 (One might usefully remember here also Norman Page’s identification of Hardy’s ‘search for a style’, poetically with the opposing influences of two mentors: Horace Moule and William Barnes.32) Thus the open-ended, provisional aspects of Hardy’s thinking can be linked also to his conscious sense of himself as provincial. Often denigrated as an ‘autodidact’, and ambivalent about metropolitan culture, Hardy did nonetheless suggest, with varying degrees of explicitness, that this contributed to his distinctive vantage – with its rejection of hierarchy, and irony or resistance towards the centripetal pull of the metropolitan.33 In a more positive vein, he advocated, contra Matthew Arnold, that ‘a certain provincialism of feeling is invaluable. It is the essence of individuality’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 147). In such ways, Hardy’s writing took on another kind of centrifugal tendency, both formally and socially, away from the metropolitan centre, as it sought to accommodate itself to the lives of the socially or culturally neglected. Disjunction in this aspect becomes an aesthetic and political value by which Hardy forces his culture to confront its ideological blinds spots. A further aspect of this is that it allows us to revisit Hardy’s reiterated claim that his poetry was about giving voice, a factor that made for the unsystematic, as Robert Schweik pointed out:

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Introduction | 15 As Hardy many times insisted – the views he did incorporate in his texts were unsystematic and inconsistent “impressions”, often the utterances of various personae in specific dramatic situations.34

This emphasis allows us to hear further, rather fraught, nuances in the statements in the ‘Preface’ to Time’s Laughingstocks that so many poems were ‘in the main […] dramatic monologues by different characters’ and that this made for a ‘sense of disconnection’ in the collection (Hardy, Complete Poems, 190). A similar implication is evident in the ‘Preface’ to Wessex Poems, where the ‘miscellaneous’ nature of the collection appears in part attributed to the poems’ ‘dramatic and personative’ features (Hardy, Complete Poems, 6). In recognition of how Hardy always pursued his own voice, his critics now give appropriate measure to Hardy’s extraordinary and many-sided intellectual life, and his engagements with contemporaneous developments and debates in evolution, astronomy, economics, sociology, aesthetics, cosmology, positivism, psychology, archaeology, technology, biology, and so on. Unsurprisingly, he was a lifelong and diligent (if rather sporadic and unorganized) student of philosophy. Elsewhere I have examined at length how the notebooks make evident the extent of his readings and reflections of (or about) writers who were contesting and extending his culture’s view of reality, such as Darwin, Mill, Huxley, Spencer, Stephen, and later, Schopenhauer, William James, Nietzsche, Pater, MacTaggart, Bergson, and von Hartmann.35 A useful epitome of the distinctively personal orientation of his thought is given in a note from 1901: After reading various philosophic systems, and being struck wither their contradictions and futilities, I have come to this: Let every man make a philosophy for himself out of his own experience. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 310)

This usefully suggests that experience generates reflection. But it also perhaps suggests the further key ideas, conveyed in the quotations below, that thought is itself engendered by sensation, and emerges in ways that reflect the individuality of the respondent, and which art is motivated to capture: ‘Aristotle’s aphorism, There is nothing in the Understanding that did not originally spring from Sensation.’36

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16 | I NTRODUCTION Art is a changing of the actual proportions and orders of things, so as to bring out more forcibly […] that feature in them which appeals most strongly to the idiosyncrasy of the artist. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 229)

Phillip Mallett, in an essay on Hardy and philosophy, cited an important entry from Comte in the notebooks (“Feeling – the great motor force of human life’) before likewise going to describe how Hardy can be said to have rooted emotion and affectivity largely in the physical, registering: subjectivity not through introspection, or free indirect discourse – the typical means of the psychological novelist, such as Eliot or James – but somatically, in terms of immediate physical sensation, or changed perception of the outer world: hence the recurrence in his work of such words as palpitating, trembling, listless, flushing, liberating, irradiated, dazzled, tremulous, and the frequent references to the movement of the blood, and the quickening of the pulse, or of the breath.37

With respect to the reader too, Mallett pointed out that Hardy in ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’, distinguished between what he termed two ‘representations of life’: the one which offered discursive ‘views about life’, amenable to argument, and the other, imaginative and rooted in impressions, and appealing more directly to an ‘intuitive conviction’.38 In this last part of the Introduction I want to link this discussion of the philosophical aspects of subjectivity in Hardy’s work to the chapters on voice and poetic metre. In The Claim of Reason, Stanley Cavell describes two philosophical fantasies of expression and inexpression bearing on the voice that offer a useful access here.39 In a fascinating passage (bound up with his discussion of the later Wittgenstein’s engagements with the scenario of a private language) Cavell associates the metaphysical desire that dominates the sceptic with two underlying fantasies that grip him: that language is inescapably private; or else that is inescapably public. The first fantasy is that I am gripped by an intractable privacy, that I cannot voice myself, while the second is that my words endlessly, uncontrollably and publicly betray me, that I cannot control them: So the fantasy of a private language, underlying the wish to deny the publicness of language, turns out, so far, to be a fantasy, or fear, either of inexpressiveness, one in which I am not merely unknown, but in

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Introduction | 17 which I am powerless to make myself known; or one in which what I express is beyond my control.40

These fantasies – of tragic immurement, on the one hand, or an uncontrollable self-exposure, on the other – are particularly suggestive in relation to Hardy, whose sense of self often appears polarized or figured, as has been noted, in terms of a feeling of withdrawal or impassivity, or an excessive sensitivity, the two meeting for instance, in his secret phobia about being touched. Consequently, Hardy’s selfportrayal often involves a shrinking, as of someone prone to retreating into an inexpressive kind of privacy or secrecy. As we have seen, many critics and biographers have been provoked by this to interpret Hardy’s reticence or guardedness as a shame about his origins, or some other incommunicable private material. At this point, the first kind of fantasy (of inalienable privacy) appears connected to the second (of inevitable publicity): as if a feeling that it is impossible to make oneself fully understood, to speak with one’s own voice, was inextricable from a hyper-sensitivity that shame was all too legible, and that the traces of it, and one’s own accents, must be destroyed or covered over. The chapter on ‘Neutral Tones’ will touch on some of the poem’s strange contraries and problems of expressivity through a close reading of metre and voice. It will also contextualize the poem in such terms, not least in its relation to Hardy’s own complex vocation, since the poem can be said to mark the moment when Hardy both found his poetic voice and abandoned it, turning shortly afterwards to fiction. In terms of inexpression, the poem’s figurations of subjective dissociation appear radical and all-pervasive, as if the text encoded some mysterious primal scene of Hardeyan inspiration, as two lovers face each other, though now unable any longer of responding or feeling anything, and mourning fruitlessly the lost spark of animating and meaningful conversation. The speaker is incapable of forgetting the scene, which now haunts him and as it were locks him up within a radical privacy, detaching him from himself. At the same time, this deeply private sense of emptiness and failed connection coexists with a mutual, public, condition of inexpression that neither person can break, and which binds them against themselves (as it continues to bind him in memory) – indefinitely and fruitlessly – to the scene of their parting. It is this very shared failure of private expression and mutuality that the poem paradoxically expresses so intensely, then, but as an unwilled and shared, even public condition. The speaker feels too much and too little at the same time, hyper-sensitive that his face is all too legible to the scouring and scourging eyes of the former lover who scans it like

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18 | I NTRODUCTION an old page, assiduously yet with a deadening and annihilating lack of emotional interest. Beyond his failure to find the right words, further, everything in the scenario and the other person appears eloquent, reflecting back to him his own predicament. So, even beyond this ghastly hyperbolic parody of mutuality, it is as if his fantasy was of a world imbued with a kind of nightmarish telepathy that subjected him to the chiding, all-seeing scrutiny not only of the former beloved, but also of the God he imagines, and even of the abandoned, mute, elements of the scene. What is shared by these contrary cases of privacy – of experiencing the self as purely contained or purely uncontainable – is a sense of selfprivation, one might say, as the negation of a self-possession or self-expression linked to mutuality or sociality, to a meaningful selfpublicity.41 The metrical readings in the section on Voice will commonly explore, among other things, how far such issues of privacy, expression and inexpression are constitutive of the shifts of tone and meaning in a poem. The discussion of ‘The Going’, for example, turns on the ironic continuities between youthful romance, marriage, and death in this poem, in so far as the relationship of husband and wife was always configured by a condition of profound interiority that left both ineluctably subjected by the other in diverse ways. Hardy the young man felt himself at stake in Emma’s musing eyes, his excitement and ardour inseparable from the sense that his expressivity was at her disposal, while Hardy the widower feels bewilderingly that she has now abruptly turned and disposed of him. The reading of ‘The Oxen’ and other poems on issues of religious belief similarly explores how faith is both felt to be both impossible and necessary in the poem, where a disposition towards the miraculous remains characteristic both of the childhood mind that returns to the poet through his intonation, and of the poetic voice itself, that cannot extinguish its own constitutive disposition to expressive renewal. Thus the inexpressive influences of darkness, age, midwinter, disbelief, scepticism, and the war are critically at odds not merely with speaker’s moving tendencies still towards hope or belief, but also with the condition of poetic speech itself. Similar features are evident elsewhere in readings of other poems also throughout, as with the reading of ‘The Self-Unseeing’ and other poems where music figures how poetry also revives possibilities of human identity at odds with the world of scepticism and tragedy. In the book’s final section then, the idea of voice – as what a writer seeks to establish within a poem – becomes acutely important in relation to the over-arching theme of expressivity, as another kind of expressive summons. Another larger aspect of this is the way in which

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Introduction | 19 Hardy the poet might be said to draw the reader into a drama of the voice that seeks to develop intention, to renew our sense of the eventual nature and spiritual significance of what Cavell would call the everyday, and to overcome ways in which a life may suffer from a loss of tone, intensity, or purpose, and be sunk in convention, loss, disillusion, scepticism, or melancholy. In a neglected essay, ‘A Matter of Meaning It’, Cavell made a salutary observation, asserting that works of art are not inert objects, like the material objects hypostatized by sceptical philosophers, but are ‘meant, meant to be understood’, which is not to exclude the possibility either that a poet might write so as to uncover his or her intentions or voice in the act of writing, to discover in what a poem expresses what it was that impressed him or her to write it.42 Such an account of intentionality and the voice then revisits from a different aspect again how Hardy’s art essentially charts transitions between self-estrangement and self-expression, for his personae, the poetic or narrative voice, or the reader.

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MUSIC

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CHAPTER

1

‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ Hardy and Music John Bayley’s discussion of ‘The Darkling Thrush’ in An Essay on Hardy identifies an inimitable principle of disunity at work in the poem, which Bayley takes as a kind of key to Hardy’s characteristic effects in both the poetry and the prose: Throughout his work, the ways in which we are absorbed into it, moved, delighted, are never co-ordinated, never really unified.1

Bayley’s sustained discussion locates what he sees as unconsciously produced separations of metaphor and description as the means by which the poem is held between the world of human meanings and consolations, and the bleakly inhospitable winter scene. Of the thrush’s song he writes: The thrush’s song is the climax of this whole tendency; and the thrush himself, in his shrivelled and unkempt physical presence, its leading man. The metaphors are now of religion, of joys and consolations; and we recognise that the poem itself, like not a few of Hardy’s, has come to suggest the progression and cadence of a hymn. But the blessed hope appropriate to a hymn is in complete obliviousness of such a song as the bird is singing – its ‘happy goodnight air’ – a line whose unexpectedness, among the comparatively formal sobriety of the poem’s diction, always brings the tears to my eyes. (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 38)

For Bayley, the ‘joy illimited’ and hope of the bird’s song are all the more moving for their incongruity and unexpectedness. At this moment, the listener’s response is divided between an unillusioned consciousness of things, and a reawakened sense of joy and communion that is oblivious to this. The bird’s song signals possibilities that the tentative conclusion of the poem seems concerned to remark and

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24 | M USIC incorporate, even as it suggests at the same time that such possibilities are unactualizable: [. . .] I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 150)

So Bayley’s discussion is informed by the idea that the bird’s song involves an absent-mindedness at odds with the scene around, and that it signals a hope that is both real and insistent, as well as unsustainable within this surrounding physical environment at the end of the Century. The song evokes a response, a surprise by joy, that the speaker in the poem, fervourless and leaning upon the coppice gate, is painfully aware that he is unable to live up to and translate into a lived experience. Bayley’s comments usefully introduce these chapters on music by suggesting an ambivalent attitude that marks Hardy’s whole career – music is seen to evoke a response to life that is inseparable from what gives life value, as well as incompatible with his conscious vision of personal and historical circumstances. Even within the often tragic, sardonic, parodic, and ironic operations of the fiction, and the gaps between memory and actuality in the poetry, music works to evoke necessary potentials of individuality and community. It operates unconsciously and involves sensation to invoke an ideal dimension of relatedness outside of consciousness, and consciousness’s reflective sense of chronology, personality, and context. As in ‘The Darkling Thrush’, music starkly signals hopes that are often set in a kind of counterpoint to the deadening types of disappointment to which they are subject in what the plots of the fiction, and the scenarios of the poems, ultimately confirm as reality. What follows in this chapter bears on this larger context, though it will have a strategically narrower focus: on the uses of music in Hardy’s writings of the 1890s. While the emphasis on this crucial juncture of his career introduces essential features of this larger topic, it also sets out to offer a specific and illustrative access to it, by way of concentrating on the phase of Hardy’s turn to poetry, and away from fiction. At this time, the expressive dissonances between music and circumstance are often very stark and bound up with issues of genre and inspiration. Clearly, in novels like Jude or Tess or The WellBeloved, music is in this way an important contributory factor to its rhythm of experience, configured as it is in terms of repeated, disjunctive, open-ended intervals of hope, inspirations of personal expression,

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 25 that are belatedly pulled into the ironic, spiralling repetitions of plot. The study of music in these texts provides a powerful way of seeing how the texts open and close between different dimensions of time and experience. This pronounced sense of division emerges, in the aesthetic meditations of the mid 1880s onwards, as a dissociation of the ideal and the real, and can be connected to the dictum already mentioned that ‘[m]y art is to intensify the expression of things’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 177). The tragic aspect of the dissociation emerges in an image of caged birds in a further note from 1885 from the Life, in which Hardy broods cheerlessly on the superficiality of London life: The people in this tragedy laugh, sing, smoke, toss off wines etc., make love to girls in drawing-rooms and areas; and yet are playing their parts in the tragedy just the same. Some wear jewels and feathers, some wear rags. All are caged birds; the only difference lies in the size of the cage. This too is part of the tragedy. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 171)

I In this next section I want to look more closely at how this ratio between the ideal and the real can be detected in Hardy’s recurrent identification of music with a vocabulary, evident in ‘The Darkling Thrush’, in which music is written about in terms of joy, hope, and the soul. ‘Soul’ is a favourite word of Hardy’s in these and connected contexts, referring to a quality of individuality that he was always concerned to observe, and convey: You may regard a throng of people as containing a certain small minority who have sensitive souls; these, and the aspects of these, being what is worth observing. So you divide them into the mentally unquickened, mechanical, soulless; and the living, throbbing, suffering, vital. In other words, into souls and machines, ether and clay. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 185–86)

The interest in the soul is identified with a susceptibility or sensitivity that provokes the same qualities in the observer. Some such criterion is evident also in another cited above, in which the operations of literary language are identified as addressed to those who can adequately respond to its fleeting resonances and intimations:

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26 | M USIC I must trust for right note-catching to those finely-touched spirits who can divine without half a whisper, whose intuitiveness is proof against all the accidents of inconsequence.

A useful access into these areas of Hardy’s work is provided by an enigmatic note in dated 25 June 1887. Writes Hardy: 25. At a concert at Prince’s Hall I saw Souls outside Bodies. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 201)

As with many such interpolations in the Life, the remark intrigues the reader by its brevity and oddity of the expression. It seems imbued with personal significances which are, nonetheless, withheld, and to which the reader must attempt to attune himself, herself. So, if we pause to reflect on this initially bemusing note, the first thought would be that the souls and bodies which fascinated Hardy were, we might imagine, predominantly female, and at that moment the reader begins to enter imaginatively into the incident and Hardy’s response to it, and to glean too something of the motive behind Hardy’s wanting to remember the incident by writing it down, as well as of his adopting a cryptic expression. Cannily oblique, even initially voyeuristic, as the note might be, it seems to have a whole poem wrapped up potentially within it, and something of Hardy’s own remembered intentness at the incident begins eerily to pass into the reader. More generally, as in this extract, Hardy often identifies music with a power to induce movements of the soul outside of the body. In ‘The Fiddler of the Reels’, writing of Mop’s power to move sensitive children to tears, the narrator describes how ‘ [o]ccasionally Mop could produce the aforesaid moving effect upon the souls of grown-up persons, especially young women of fragile and responsive organization,2 and of how he could play the fiddle so ‘as to draw your soul out of your body like a spider’s thread . . . till you felt as limp as withywind and yearned for something to cling to’ (Hardy, Collected Stories, Vol. 2, 127). Again, there is a similar emphasis, writing of Tess, as the narrator comments on: That innate love of melody, which she had inherited from her balladsinging mother, gave the simplest music a power over her which could well-nigh drag her heart out of her bosom at times.3

The word ‘soul’ is used again of another incident, one which passed into poetry, an encounter with a salvation army girl whom he met at midnight on February 4, 1894, ‘beating a tambourine and dancing.

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 27 She looked like one of the “angelic quire”, who had tumbled down out of the sky, and’, he continues rather disingenuously as if the oddity of the incident were the reason for recalling it, ‘ I could hardly believe my eyes’, before adding, tellingly, ‘Not a soul was there but her and myself’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 262). Such incidents, associated with music, appear especially memorable for Hardy. It does not seem possible as yet to be more precise about the meaning of the word ‘soul’ for Hardy, other than to reiterate that in listening to music, the soul is said somehow to leave the body. My main point in describing Hardy’s uses of music, however, is that music, in ways obviously reminiscent of Hardy’s description above of literary language, is itself described as something that passes between your soul and that of another person, catching up both in a common movement or accord that surprises our sense of purely physical and subjective separation. It involves an expression of relatedness whose transports involve a certain absent-mindedness and indefinite duration. So, it can seem like a signal, as for Jude, of community and the future: Suddenly there came along this wind something towards him – a message from the place – from some soul residing there, it seemed. Surely it was the sound of bells, the voice of the city, faint and musical, calling to him, ‘We are happy here!’ He had become entirely lost to his bodily situation during this mental leap, and only got back to it by a rough recalling. (Hardy, Jude, 43)

Of course, within the ironic world of this novel, such effects of music in fact merely encourage a fated and forlorn hope or projection of relatedness, as when Jude visits the composer of the hymn that moved him so much, intending to confide in him only to discover that the man is moving into the more lucrative intoxications of the wine trade: It took Jude more than by surprise that the man with the soul was thus and thus; and he felt he could not open up his confidences. (Hardy, Jude, 216)

And, similarly, when Jude’s soul can be said finally to leave his body, in this text it is to the ironic sounds of music: the bells and organ concert and waltzes which punctuate his dying remarks. The piano which no-one can play on the novel’s opening page, and about which the characters all gather in static and perplexed attitudes, a scene framed in the foursquare blocks of the syntax and paragraphs, is an

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28 | M USIC appropriate image of the novel’s sardonic intensification of the experience of lost community and relatedness, as well as of its insistence on attendant and ironically construed problems of movement. However, the wrenching black humour in these episodes has as its background also a belief in the ineradicability of the hopes to which music appears to testify. The more repeatedly Hardy piles on the satire, the more the ghastly hollowness of the laughter reveals as its condition the pathos of an affective susceptibility now increasingly dissociated from any belief in its realization, yet which must repeat itself. Again, one could cite the following example from The WellBeloved, as Pierston talks to Nicola Pine-Avon, conscious both of his feeling for her, and a sense of his own ridiculousness: ‘They talked over the day’s news, and then an organ began to grind outside. The tune was a rollicking air he had heard at some musichall; and, by way of a diversion, he asked her if she knew the composition. ‘No, I don’t!’ she replied. ‘Now, I’ll tell you all about it,’ said he gravely. ‘It is based on a sound old melody called “The Jilt’s Hornpipe.” Just as they turn Madeira into port in the space of a single night, so this old air has been taken and doctored, and twisted about and brought out as a new popular ditty.’4

The mechanical organ, grinding a hollowed out version of an old tune, appropriately called ‘The Jilt’s Hornpipe’, appears as a crudely conscious musical metaphor for the way in which Pierston’s particular form of idealism is subject to increasing kinds of mockery in the text, as he becomes a shell of his former self compelled by merely repetitive affective promptings in whose realization he no longer believes, and which have long been a kind of torment to him. This is evident in his conscious employment of the poetic image of the well-beloved’s departures from ‘[E]ach mournful empty shape’ which ‘stands ever after like the nest of some beautiful bird from which the inhabitant has departed and left it to fill with snow . . . ’ (Hardy, Well-Beloved, 40) An obvious contrast here would be with the fullness, centrality, and romance of the presentation of music in Tess, as in the important example of this noted also by Caroline Jackson-Houlston in her work on Hardy’s use of traditional songs and ballads in Hardy’s work.5 This is the scene where Angel first becomes aware of Tess, and selects her from the others as the object of his attentions. Looking over a music score, Clare is oblivious to the ‘particulars’ of the outward scene,

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 29 which ‘did not strike him as possessing a new note . . . ’ Then, he as it were begins to pass into this outward scene, hearing the domestic objects that surround him as musical instruments, ‘the half-empty kettle whining an accompaniment’ and so on. Then we read: The conversation at the table mixed in with his phantasmal orchestra till he thought: ‘What a fluty voice one of those milkmaids has! I suppose it is the new one.’ Clare looked round upon her, seated with the others. She was not looking towards him. Indeed, owing to his long silence, his presence in the room was almost forgotten. ‘I don’t know about ghosts,’ she was saying; but I do know that our souls can be made to go outside our bodies when we are alive.’ (Hardy, Tess, 115)

The example Tess then gives is of staring at the stars until you are ‘hundreds and hundreds o’ miles away from your body’ (Hardy, Tess, 115). This characteristic speech of Tess’s appears as the decisive moment when Angel’s attention is fixed upon her, and so the chapter ends: And then he seemed to discern in her something that was familiar, something which carried him back into a joyous and unforeseeing past, before the necessity of taking thought had made the heavens gray. (Hardy, Tess, 116)

At this moment, tellingly, the narrator’s attitude appears to overlay the narrative’s representation of Angel’s perceptions somewhat, since the as yet unremembered episode of Angel’s not having danced with her scarcely seems adequate to justify the mysterious sense of familiarity and joy which Tess evokes.

II There are, then, many facets in the presentation of music in Hardy, so far noted. Music is the occasion of effects of transport in which the individual’s powers of relatedness, seen as potentially joyous, are evoked, but as being no longer identifiable with the spatial position of the body, or the reflective or volitional conditions of subjectivity. In this section I want to look in more detail at how music is described in Hardy’s writing as inducing these involuntary, unconscious activities of thought and body, and at how these can be related to the modes of

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30 | M USIC writings that he employs. My main points are that such unconscious activities are at once always physical and mental and social, since they are effects of conjunctions or accords of various types (through sensation and feeling); and that they are presented as at odds with the belated awareness of separation and loss associated with the reflective interiority of self-consciousness, ‘the necessity of taking thought’. This leads into a development of some of the points above, about Hardy’s use of tragedy and satire, as the fictional forms most adequate to the incompatibility. To try and put a more explicit analytical gloss on these points, one could begin by citing Joan Grundy’s account of Hardy’s uses of music in Hardy and the Sister Arts. Grundy describes Hardy’s writing, in line with his own remarks, in terms of an aesthetic of sensations, impressions, in which individuality is expressed through its finding correspondences with the world outside. For Grundy, the music inside answers the music outside, both natural and man-made, converting the body into a musical instrument of sorts, at once expressive and pliable. So, noting how Hardy uses musical metaphors for the descriptions of the characters’ emotional capacities, and adumbrating a whole Hardeyan vocabulary of the vital susceptibility to sound and the ability to resound and respond, she comes to the following suggestive formulation: Vitality and vibrancy: these are the qualities Hardy celebrates in his characters and in human life generally. Both are sustained by and expressed in the beating, throbbing, pulsing of the heart, which itself finds expression and correspondence in the beating, throbbing, pulsing of music and the dance.6

The phrase, ‘expression and correspondence’, is intriguing, since for Hardy the self is only fully expressed through correspondences, relations, associations – through vibrations in which the material is raised for an indefinite interval to the condition of the spiritual. If this is so, it is because the physical is always spiritual also, for Hardy, the means of ‘expression and correspondence’. The expression of the soul through the body in its associations, though, has little to do with everyday consciousness, as a reflective interior understanding. Music as sensation involves the body in indeterminate areas, involves it in the events of passages outside its purely spatial situation and organic form, in movements where the soul can be expressed in the extraction of ideal qualities of rhythm and resonance from material elements. Hardy often explores this disjunction, as I have suggested earlier in the Tess episode. The determinate difference between my body and that of

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 31 other bodies is suspended for an open-ended moment in the activities of sensation and of music. In this emphasis, I am provoked by Gilles Deleuze’s comment about Hardy that he had an ‘extraordinary respect’ for ‘the individual’ and that his characters exist as ‘ a collection, a packet, a bloc of variable sensations’,7 or as Hardy says of Tess, she was ‘such a sheaf of susceptibilities’ (Hardy, Tess, 170). For Deleuze, the individual is not identifiable with the pre-given form of personality, but is actualized according to a process of individuation which takes effect between bodies, and for which music provides us here with a clearly observable means. Further, Deleuze (in Spinozist fashion) often employs the distinction of soul and consciousness in the way in which I am using the former term here. For Deleuze the soul, as a virtual and reiterable ensemble of relational potentials, the ideal parallel or counterpart to the multiple potentials of the body, is actualized in different forms through the self-differentiating individuations into which it is drawn through particular encounters. Deleuze’s comments about Hardy are useful here as a way of relating this discussion of individuation, in distinction from personality and subjectivity, to the work: There is a strange respect for the individual, an extraordinary respect: not because he would seize upon himself as a person, and be recognized as a person, in the French way, but on the contrary because he saw himself and saw others as so many ‘unique chances’ – the unique chance from which one combination or another had been drawn. Individuation without a subject. And these packets of sensation in the raw, these collections of combinations run along the lines of chance, or mischance, where their encounters take place – if need be, their bad encounters which lead to death, to murder. Hardy invokes a sort of Greek destiny for this empiricist, experimental world. (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 30)

Chapter 4 following, entitled ‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’, surveys Hardy’s fictional career more thoroughly in terms of these comments and Deleuze’s metaphysics,8 but it is worth noting here how in the same discussion in Dialogues Deleuze comments on the soul as the body’s counterpart, incorporating a quotation of D. H. Lawrence’s into his remarks: the Soul and the Body, the soul is neither above nor inside, it is ‘with’, it is on the road, exposed to all contacts, encounters, in the company of those who follow the same way, ‘feel with them, seize the vibra-

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32 | M USIC tions of their soul and their body as they pass’[. . .] (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 47)

Several important features of Hardy’s uses of music, then, have emerged here, and might be usefully summarized. Passages of music become the means of relatedness between characters or personae, a means by which the concerted operations of subjectivity are surprised for an interval as the individual is expressed as an open multiplicity of different ways of relating outside the recognizable forms of self-relation in subjectivity. Music involves a kind of forgetting or absent-mindedness, through which the individual enters into larger affective ensembles. More than this, music invokes a different form of temporality from the merely chronological, which it interrupts and holds in abeyance. The following example from Tess allows for a description of the many complex ways that music can affirm and express individuality in these ways. It is the oft-discussed set-piece passage where she is drawn to Angel’s harp notes: Tess was conscious of neither time nor space. The exaltation which she had described as being producible at will by gazing at a star, came now without any determination of hers; she undulated upon the thin notes of the second-hand harp, and their harmonies passed like breezes through her, bringing tears into her eyes. The floating pollen seemed to be his notes made visible, and the dampness of the garden the weeping of the garden’s sensibility. Though near nightfall, the rank-smelling weed-flowers glowed as if they would not close for intentness, and the waves of colour mixed with the waves of sound. (Hardy, Tess, 118)

Tess’s response here may be involuntary, yet in her exaltation the most essential feature of her nature is manifested, it appears. Her susceptibility or sensitivity to Angel’s harp notes has all the immediate pathos that such unguarded rapture and self-revelation always have for Hardy, and the prose appears motivated to convey her response, as it sets up the characteristic relay of counter-response for narrator and reader. To describe this more closely involves one in perhaps paradoxical formulations, since the reader’s engagement is itself a kind of mobile orchestration of diverse elements: a compound round or relay of sympathy, romantic, and sexual interest, and empathy. This is to talk of a typically Hardeyan dimension of effectively collated yet independent elements (as in Bayley’s use of the term ‘separations’ in his book),9 as the reader’s response becomes itself

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 33 transitional and indeterminate, passing into Tess’s sense of things, and outside again, so that we move between solicitude for her, observation of her, and absorption into her perceptions and feelings. But it is worth teasing out the element of diversity in Hardy’s writing a little further here. In a remarkable way, the distinction between bodies seems suspended by the processes of music, and this extends to the other features of the scene. The flowers that ‘would not close for intentness’ convey a breathless raptness that is not only Tess’s and the reader’s, but that visits even the vegetation as well: ‘The floating pollen seemed to be his notes made visible, and the dampness of the garden the weeping of the garden’s sensibility’ . . . The mixing of waves of colour and the waves of sound is merely one further example here of how music for Hardy overcomes the distinctions of things, creating paradoxical effects of indetermination, in whose passages, nonetheless, there is no diminishment of individuality, but on the contrary, a fuller, spontaneous, expression of it. One could prolong the discussion of music in Tess, and its connection to the romance of the text, and the ways in which the world and plot are arranged in accordance with Hardy’s vision of this, and the complex focusing on Tess. However, the important feature that overhangs this novel (and other fictional texts of the period) would seem to be the pronounced and determined sense of the transient nature of human joy and hope. The prolonged intensity of the episode at the dairy in Tess seems merely set up for an ironic fall, a complement at the level of plot to the way Hardy’s sentences themselves – like the flowers above – appear to prolong and postpone themselves ‘as if they would not close for intentness’ when the narrator is writing about Tess herself, as when he mingles his representation of her sensations with his imagined sense of her: Although the early September weather was sultry, her arm, from her dabbling in the curds, was as cold and damp to his mouth as a newgathered mushroom, and tasted of the whey. But she was such a sheaf of susceptibilities that her pulse was accelerated by the touch, her blood driven to her finger-ends, and the cool arms flushed hot. (Hardy, Tess, 170)

For Bayley, such divisions between romance and its eclipse have a determination in Hardy’s fiction of the 1890s, which he sees as marking a shift from earlier characteristic uses of fictional form. It is difficult to disagree with Bayley’s description of the more rigid and concerted modes which, to paraphrase his position, convert more unconsciously produced effects of separation into more consciously

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34 | M USIC controlling kinds of opposition. However, it is obviously possible, as many influential critics did from around the same time (Terry Eagleton, Penny Boumelha, John Goode, Peter Widdowson, Rosemarie Morgan, Roger Ebbatson, and Joe Fisher among them), to emphasize rather differently the radical nature of Hardy’s fictional practice in matters of gender and subjectivity, and in the political powers of the satiric or parodic modes which Hardy adopts in the last novels.10 Nonetheless, that there is an alteration of the kind that Bayley remarks, in Hardy’s fictional art by the 1890s, can be seen clearly in its uses of music. Plot becomes a means of expressing this, as so often in the stories. So, in ‘On the Western Circuit’, Raye, the barrister hero, comes across his unsuitable bride to be at the fair. Among the sounds of barrel-organs and hand bells he selects her, as she moves round and round on the roundabout or ‘steam circus’: She was absolutely unconscious of everything save the act of riding: her features were rapt in an ecstatic dreaminess; for the moment she did not know her age or her history or her lineaments, much less her troubles. He himself was full of vague latter-day glooms and popular melancholies, and it was a refreshing sensation to behold this young thing then and there, absolutely as happy as if she were in a Paradise. (Hardy, Collected Stories, Vol. 2, 87)

Such an unconscious joy, revealing as it does the girl’s nature, is once again the condition of reawakening in Raye, as in Angel, his capacity for love. Her paradisal air draws him on, but it is a merely temporary interval, bound to yield to the sardonic ending, as in ‘The Fiddler of the Reels’ where Car’line’s susceptibility to music is fatally subject to a narrative treatment that insists on its ultimate recklessness. To take one more example, Hardy’s appending of the unhappy revised ending to ‘The Distracted Preacher’ seems similarly concerned to snuff out the hope of the earlier moment where: The birds began to get lively, and a single thrush came just before sunset each evening, and sang hopefully on the large elm-tree which stood nearest to Mrs Newberry’s house.11

There is certainly in these examples, then, a centripetal thematic collectedness, which differs from the interruptive centrifugal movements of Hardy’s early language and imagination. Where his early writing was characterized by truant movements away from story into marginal and fleeting emotions and impressions, in this work of the 1890s (evident

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 35 so sardonically in the short fiction of this period) a greater aspiration to narrative unity transforms this more unreflective disunity into a greater overseeing narrative preoccupation with the ironic notation of disunity as the structure of experience. However, these characteristics of over-determination, as in Jude or The Well-Beloved, produce complicated intensities of feeling whose ultimate after-effect, to put it most crudely, is that life is impossible without hope. Hope, after all, is the main emotion that is engendered by the narratives of Tess and Jude. And if the deaths in the novels are so wrenching, it is precisely because this intensification of disappointment has the effect of testifying to its opposite, to an intensified sense that life is impossible without hope, as dissonance evokes a counter-image of harmony perhaps, and so invokes our need for it. This is markedly so in the stories too, as with the character in ‘Fellow-Townsmen’ whose ‘few minutes of hope, between the reading of the first and second letters, had carried him to extraordinary heights of rapture’ – however much he is doomed by the second letter to an ‘immensity of suffering’ (Hardy, Collected Stories, Vol. 1, 114). This sense of lost hope as developed and expressed through a preoccupation with music can be seen also in the plot of ‘The Fiddler of the Reels’ which tinges and displaces Car’line’s real rapture by turning it into at best a repeatable experience that becomes increasingly ridiculous with the onward press of time. Nonetheless, the effect of the story is that the value of the experience of music survives all the designs upon it of plot and characterization, and stands outside them, inescapable though the ironies are.

III In this final section, I want briefly to discuss the uses of music in some of Hardy’s first published poems. Brian Maidment’s article on Hardy’s work and traditional music provides a useful way here of thinking about Hardy’s transition from prose to poetry. For Maidment, Hardy’s sense of music was from the first allied to a sense of history and of loss. In the Life, Maidment notes, Hardy dated his coming to consciousness in terms of the passing of the Stinsford parish choir. Maidment sees in Hardy a certain defensiveness about both his susceptibility to traditional music, as well as a complex feeling for traditional music as the expression of a rural culture in a sophisticated world: Yet how could his belief in the emotional strength and communal occasions of traditional music – the one embarrassingly personal and the other aggressively unfashionable, even archaic – be made acces-

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36 | M USIC sible to readers not just excluded from such performances, but entirely ignorant of their continuing existence and historical significance.12

For Maidment, such difficulties or embarrassment led Hardy initially into pre-emptive kinds of satirical treatment of the communal, timehonoured practices of music-making, as in Under the Greenwood Tree. This was a treatment he was later to regret, and that led him in the later fiction to employ ironic modes as a means of testifying to the difficulties of conveying to the reader the historical and personal associations of music for him. Maidment sees Hardy accordingly as finding in the poetry the most satisfactory means ‘for describing musical expressivity and intensity’ outside of irony (Maidment, Hardy Annual, 17). Maidment’s emphasis on music and loss is evident in poems where music appears as a paradoxical and fated means of overcoming the passing of time. It reawakens real continuities with the past, even as these continuities are incompatible with the current situation. This is evident in poems such as ‘The Dance at the Phoenix’ where Jenny, aged and married, recovers her youth by slipping out to join ‘The King’s – Own Cavalry’ at dance one more time before returning to die next to her sleeping and unsuspecting husband (Hardy, Complete Poems, 43); or ‘Leipzig’ where the tune of an old street-fiddler moves ‘Old Norbert’ to tears as he thinks of its associations with his mother, and for his mother and her eventful youth in the Napoleonic wars (Hardy, Complete Poems, 26–30). What is at once so familiar and remarkable about a poem like that is the sense the reader gets of old Norbert, his experiences and memories, so that in reading the poem his life opens up for us, and becomes the means of reaching into other lives, summoning other times, as with all the soldiers and other characters who are mentioned in the poem. A further kind of temporal experience associated with music occurs in ‘Rome: On the Palatine’ where a Strauss waltz heard in Rome raises in Hardy’s mind a sense of: old routs Imperial lyres had led, And blended pulsing life with lives long done, Till Time seemed fiction, Past and Present one. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 103)

Time as personal history, as family history and as national history: music appears to have the means to transport one outside of circumstances and the distinctness of bodies and of moments, into other kinds of relatedness, and experience. The associations of sound open a

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 37 window into past lives and time, and disjoins the present from itself. Music opens you to other people’s souls, and to the exercise of your own, in an experience which is affective: at once physical and spiritual, but also communal. John Lucas, taking up a similar point about the effects of kinds of ventriloquism in Hardy’s verse, refers to those poems where Hardy’s own voice is invaded by another, or where the isolated ‘I’ gives way to the communal ‘we’ or ‘they’ [. . .] In other words, community is not so much affirmed as rediscovered, repossessed in the act of speech, in the voiced imagining.13

My point is simply that music is often the force that provokes such intimations of community and relatedness, including – finally – expressions of the communities and people of the past. Lucas takes up from Seamus Heaney the connected idea that Hardy carried within him a ‘ghost life’, that his poems were transmissions. Lucas comments on: those [poems] which seem to have been set down in an unforced, uninvented manner, as though, unbidden, voices and visions have come thronging to him. (Lucas, Critical Survey, 201)

Lucas sees Hardy’s accessibility to such inspirations or invasions as a paradoxical responsiveness, in which his voice is conjoined with those of other people. The Derridean approach of Nicholas Royle and Andrew Bennett is very different, but there is a comparable focus in their identification of weird telepathic effects in ‘The Voice’, seeing the poem in one aspect as an uncanny kind of switchboard in which the voices of Emma and Keats inhabit Hardy’s voice, mingling with it as independent elements inseparable from an ensemblic dimension of effects in the poem.14 By extension, to finish, it is in the reader also, that Hardy’s voice and vision have forms of after-life. This argument touches on Hardy’s own concerns with celebrating and passing on his own feelings about the music he had known in childhood, as in, for instance, ‘Apostrophe to an old Psalm-Tune’, and in his desire to preserve the memory and songs of his family’s music making. Another slightly later poem like ‘To My Father’s Violin’, like so many, movingly describes Hardy’s personal associations of music and conveys his desire to pass them on to the reader. Nonetheless, there is much more to this than merely a personal impulse towards commemoration or survival. If this is so, it is because Hardy described art as the means by which a distinctive viewpoint on the world can be preserved, a viewpoint that is at once

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38 | M USIC wholly individual, and yet which transcends the personality of the writer, both in so far as it incorporates other lives, and because its expressive potentials are amenable to being renewed in the lives of the reader with whom the author’s perceptions are compounded. This idea will be more fully explored in Chapter 5, but it is present in the following famous remark: Art consists in so depicting the common events of life as to bring out the features which illustrate the author’s idiosyncratic mode of regard; making old incidents and things seem as new. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 225)

The argument of this chapter, then, has been that exploring how Hardy writes about music, in the writing of the turn of the century, offers a useful access into the ways in which Hardy’s writing became decisively adjusted to a dual and conscious sense of both the necessity and impermanence of experiences of relatedness. The intensely conscious nature of this attitude in the 1890s perhaps has to do with the onset of age, in which an enhanced sense of physical impermanence coexists with an enhanced sense of spiritual and affective continuities that do not change, a coexistence that is obviously experienceable as a kind of irony, a widening gap. As suggested, such a consciousness of things recurs in the aesthetic meditations of the late 1880s onwards, as in this recorded comment from November 1891: The highest flights of the pen are mostly the excursions and revelations of souls unreconciled to life [. . .] (F. E. Hardy, Life, 240)

Yet, as suggested, the sense of life configured as disappointment is inseparable from the ineradicable revisitings of hope, and there always seems in Hardy’s poems, even the most bleak, grains or seeds of joy disobedient to the consciousness of time and place. To finish with an example of this, in ‘The Colonel’s Soliloquy’ the speaker embarks on another campaign: ‘My years mount somewhat, but here’s to’t again! And if I fall, I must.

and the poem ends: ‘Now sounds “The Girl I’ve left behind me”, – Ah, The years, the ardours, wakened by that tune! Time was when, with the crowd’s farewell “Hurrah!” ’Twould lift me to the moon.

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‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’ | 39 ‘But now it’s late to leave behind me one Who if, poor soul, her man goes underground, Will not recover as she might have done In days when hopes abound. ‘She’s waving from the wharfside, palely grieving, As down we draw . . . . Her tears make little show, Yet now she suffers more than at my leaving Some twenty years ago! ‘I pray those left at home will care for her; I shall come back; I have before; though when The Girl you leave behind you is a grandmother, Things may not be as then.’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 87–88)

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CHAPTER

2

‘Tune and Thought’ The Uses of Music in Hardy’s Poetry ‘He is a vivid, memorable and compelling figure; at the same time, he’s a stubborn mystery’: with this statement Ralph Pite sets the tone for his biography.1 Indeed, as intriguing and mysterious as anything else is the gulf between Hardy’s personal guardedness and the physical imagination that is the mainspring of his writing. Given the shifting patterns of the divisions and torsions of feeling and self-presentation, it is understandable why music, as a communicable experience of unequivocal value, maintained such centrality and prominence in Hardy’s life and work. An indubitable source of ecstatic experience, his passion for music provided him with a perpetually felt register of self-expression, collectivity, and history, and remained a lifelong indicator of vigour and animal spirits. Claire Tomalin relates how, at eighty-seven, he was visited by the poet, John Squire, and folk singer, John Goss, for an afternoon of folk songs. The three of them gathered round Emma’s old piano. Hardy joined in the refrains and beat time in the air with his hand, now laughing with pleasure and now with tears in his eyes as certain favourites came up; and he rooted out old music books with the Victorian ballads he associated with his mother and Emma. Squire marvelled at the ‘unexhausted old man’ and his fresh responses, and we are reminded of how as a child he danced ecstatically to his father’s playing, and some tunes brought tears to his eyes.2

There are numerous such anecdotes, yet they often have the air of something unforeseen about them, as if Hardy’s capacity for joy was essentially revelatory. Tomalin’s extract captures this sense of renewed animation, of the surfacing of hidden fires otherwise concealed and banked within a disappointingly mundane, unprepossessing exterior.

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 41 His self-forgetful immersion in musical pleasures is linked to his recovery of his most intimate affections, and abiding passions – familial, marital, artistic. The child who danced ecstatically and was often moved to tears by the ‘endless jigs, hornpipes, reels, waltzes’ his father would play ‘of an evening’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 15), remembered in ‘The Self-Unseeing’, is detectable in the old man, one moment ‘laughing with pleasure and now with tears in his eyes as certain favourites came up’. The preceding chapter described how the dynamism of musical events, as Hardy inhabits them, provides a privileged source and metaphor for the powers of the embodied intelligence in his work. Interpersonal, yet unfolding the mind through the sensory and affective responses of the body, musical experience in itself escapes Hardy’s customarily sceptical or time-worn consciousness, revealing the mind as an endlessly responsive power of self-variation. In such ways, for the reader or critic the topic of music allows for many routes to pursue different aspects of Hardy’s intelligence and creativity. In itself too, Hardy’s musicality has become a field of increasing importance for various kinds of specialized work by Hardy critics, ever since the pioneering work of Grundy and Pinion.3 Notably, in more recent times, such a focus has become more specifically situated within the burgeoning interdisciplinary field relating the literature of Hardy’s time to music, and musical culture.4 This chapter continues from the previous one in exploring more extensively some of the important ways Hardy uses music in the poetry to trump social and philosophical fictions of the self. His sharply operative intuition – infiltrating his work at all points against his pessimistic, self-conscious, attitudes – is that life is redeemed, if at all, by moments of intensity and joy. His work arranges itself imaginatively and expressively around transformative moments of relatedness that are as mysterious as they are commonplace, where different elements enter magnetically into a surprising, expressive, collocation, and where sensation becomes spirit. Music reveals an antiphonal metaphysics of experience – both material and ideal – of resonance, correspondence, conduction, of call and response. In ‘For Life I Had Never Cared Greatly’, musical experience is figured as a seduction too strong for the poet’s self-protective avoidances, its sway caught by the poet’s own concerted intensifications of sound: With symphonies soft and sweet colour It courted me then, Till evasions seemed wrong, Till evasions gave in to its song, (Hardy, Collected Poems, 537)

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42 | M USIC In a remark that provides a kind of rubric for what follows here, Philip Larkin remarked on the ‘tunefulness and feeling’ of Hardy’s poems.5 Larkin intriguingly wrote as if each poem was a separate offspring, observing that ‘there is a little spinal cord of thought and each has a little tune of its own’: I can’t imagine why people say Hardy had no ear […] Immediately you begin a Hardy poem your inner response begins to rock in time with the poem’s rhythm and I think that this is quite inimitable. (Larkin, ‘Hardy the Poet’, 176)

In what follows, I want to explore this expressive conspiracy between ‘tune’ and ‘thought’ in Hardy’s poetry, and its intimate relations with the rhythms, musical scenarios, configurations, and inspirations that shape his poems in singular, various ways. ‘Thought’ becomes taken over by qualities associable with musical experience: open to duration, the play of correspondences and echoes, and a powerfully significant yet unresolved indetermination. In turn, sound becomes significantly determined: local clusterings, collocations, and comings together of stress and echo convey the intermezzos of feeling, and sharpen the expressive focus of a particular poem. Often, for instance, this complex musicalizing of experience and language becomes a powerful, emergent, means of self-revelation, as in the late poem, ‘The Boy’s Dream.’ The lame boy’s face is transfigured at the end of the poem as he confesses (against our expectations) that his desire is merely for a singing linnet. First we catch the halting eagerness of his voice passing into the poet’s indirect free speech, ‘the wish was: – to have next spring, / A real green linnet – his very own’. Then, in the closing lines, a new rhythmical ease reveals a spirit recalibrated by anticipated harmony: His face was beautified by the theme, And wore the radiance of the morn. (Hardy, Collected Poems, 918)

The subtlety of Hardy’s language as it accommodates the boy’s unforeseen hope is worth brief analysis. The closing lines bring tune and thought together within a metrically and syllabically identical pattern. o B o B -ob o B His face was beautified by the theme, o B o B -o- b o B And wore the radiance of the morn.

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 43 The key words, ‘beautified’ and ‘radiance’, describing the spiritual and aesthetic aspects of the boy’s enthusiasm, are placed in the prominent second stress pattern in each line. With each polysyllable, iambic yields to anapaestic so that a momentary, expansive, triplet-like, musical liquidity visits the line (‘ was beau/-ti-fied by’; ‘the rad-/i-ance of’). The delayed stress in the anapaest then falls on a promoted monosyllable (‘by’ and ‘of’). These prosaic workaday prepositions thus participate at the apex of the poem’s expression, as the mundane is temporarily transposed in quality to the level of the spiritual – the mysterious revelation is given too in the religious diction of the closing phrase (‘radiance of the morn’). Characteristically, the climax turns on an irrefutable experience of transcendence even though the poet refuses to credit belief in any transcendent domain. A similar mysterious ephemeral epiphany, associated with music and conveyed through sound, occurs at the close of ‘On a Midsummer Eve.’ In this poem, the midsummer myth of sprites of love becomes a figure for the necessarily unpredictable, mysterious, advent of a musical encounter: I lipped rough rhymes of chance, not choice, I thought not what my words might be; There came into my ear a voice That turned a tenderer verse for me. (Hardy, Collected Poems, 443)

Inspiration again is a matter of a pleasing and surprising event of sound passed on through the poet’s own words, as they incorporate the voice of another, here a former lover. In the last two run-on lines the language circulates, echoes, reverberates, possessing the sensibility of the speaker with a nested series of reciprocal alliterative and other internal echoes (my voice turned/a/ tend/er/ v/erse for me). The poet and the poem’s mood are transformed by this unaccountable event of harmonic rapport, informing the close of the poem affectively, sonically, and – given the new iambic fluency of the closing lines – metrically. The uncontrolled, controlling, epiphanic influence of inspiration is evident here as a principle of intensification, and provides ‘On a Midsummer Eve’ with its dramatic and formal motive, as the language registers a moment of transport that provides the poem with its imaginative seed. Many of the most important features of the uses of music in Hardy’s work to define the constitutive affective experiences of the self or ‘soul’ (a privileged word in this context as we have seen) are clearly evident in ‘A Church Romance’, published after his mother’s death. Though well-known, the poem condenses so many issues and features of

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44 | M USIC Hardy’s representation of music that it justifies full discussion (and its importance for Hardy is evident in his quoting the poem in Chapter 1 of the Life). To begin with, ‘A Church Romance’ lays bare the important familial, musical associations of Stinsford Church, while actually tracing Hardy’s own origins to a musical event. As well as being the means of romance, music is the vehicle of hope, affinity, value, pleasure, emotion, and expression, in a church setting where the ‘sad sinking tower-window light’ seems, contrarily, symbolic of the fading, sad and saddening, influence of faith in the late 1820s. The poem is in part an animated memorial to what Hardy called, in conversation with Sydney Cockerell, Jemima’s ‘wonderful vitality’,6 as well as an expressive meditation on the binding, creative, force of music: (Mellstock: circa 1835) She turned in the high pew, until her sight Swept the west gallery, and caught its row Of music-men with viol, book, and bow Against the sinking sad tower-window light. She turned again; and in her pride’s despite One strenuous viol’s inspirer seemed to throw A message from his string to her below, Which said: ‘I claim thee as my own forthright!’ Thus their hearts’ bond began, in due time signed. And long years hence, when Age had scared Romance, At some old attitude of his or glance That gallery-scene would break upon her mind, With him as minstrel, ardent, young, and trim, Bowing ‘New Sabbath’ or ‘Mount Ephraim.’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 252)

As music is the means of his parents turning to each other, and turning into his parents, so Hardy himself here – a strange ghost before his birth – shifts perspective in tracing its influence: from observing Jemima from outside (‘She turned’, ‘She turned again’) to inhabiting her perceptions and responses, and even rendering the impressions that became an abiding memory (the ‘row / Of music-men with viol, book, and bow /Against the sinking sad tower-window light’). As well as this strange clairvoyance whereby Hardy appears to inhabit his mother’s memories and desires in the poem, so too Hardy the novelist is evident, intimating the lived conflicts of Jemima’s per-

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 45 sonality, as she turns between her inner and outer selves. On the one hand, there is her susceptibility, as ‘her sight / Swept the west gallery’: where she appears to be unconsciously seeking, inviting, the musical message from the ‘inspirer.’ On the other hand, there is her sense of herself as positioned firmly within the world of the Church, duty, propriety, pride, in the ‘high pew’ – even as she searchingly turns away, unconsciously resisting these constraints.7 Once again, the projective logic of desire, of romantic antiphony, underpins the broader workings of retrospection in the last six lines that describe Jemima’s habitual, exact, recollection in later life as ‘That gallery scene would break upon her mind, / With him as minstrel, ardent, young, and trim’. The phrase ‘break upon her mind’ acknowledges the involuntary nature of this memory. The past breaks into her mind, revisits her, and repeatedly takes possession of her, leading her, perhaps again and again in spite of herself and her pride, and sense of her social position, to turn again to her husband in imagination, and to rededicate the present to past and future. Jemima is imagined by these means, as caught, throughout her lifetime, ‘in her pride’s despite’. Involuntary memory reprises the charm, the masculine insistence, of that first musical claim, and reaffirms how the romance of the scene provided an expressive thread woven into their subsequent life together. By such means, Hardy shows how the narrative of a life can be generated from seemingly truant intensities and passages of perception and feeling. This open moment of heightened awareness and reciprocity is implicitly, and decisively, a marriage in the becoming (‘Thus’ . . . ). The physical basis of this mutual, subliminal, courting and catching of attention, is given a sonic focus too in clusters of stress and alliteration:8 She turned in the high pew, until her sight Swept the west gallery, and caught its row Of music-men with viol, book, and bow Against the sinking sad tower-window light.

Rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and metre are under the influence of an expressive physical magnetism. Note, for instance, the immediate linkings, joinings, of sound throughout (‘turned/ -til; sight/swept; swept/west; music-men; book and bow’; caught/Against; Against/sinking; sinking/sad; tower/window). As pairings of sound proliferate, so these chains of sonic transmission accentuate our impression of this antiphonal logic of desire as two people turn to each other under the sway of music. The coming together of ‘tune’ and

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46 | M USIC ‘thought’ is evident in other ways too: for instance, the semantic and sonic aptness of the rhyming of ‘sight’ and ‘light.’ Similarly, Ralph Pite has illuminatingly indicated how ‘forthright’ in the second quatrain suggests ‘birthright’, and communicates the sense that ‘[h]e will not allow her to escape’ (Pite, Hardy, 45). One can add that it suggests also, the word ‘forthwith’, so condensing again our sense of the inaugural power of the incident. By this same logic, the ‘strenuous’, unverbalized, peremptory, masculine magic of the violin introduces the performative shift in identity, the ‘hearts’ bond’ between the two that begins here in these moments musicaux, before they know it. In spite of conscious will, the violin’s message – interruptive, surprising, forcing – is thus a musical prelude to the most inaugural and performative of all phrase, the words ‘I will’ or ‘I do’ in the marriage service.9 What is particularly worth emphasizing here more generally is the sheer subtlety of the ways in which Hardy’s intuitive sympathy incorporates music as it differentiates itself in mode, according to the specific affective configuration and perspective of a specific poem. For instance, there is the piquant mixture of empathy and relish evident in ‘In the Marquee’.10 First, Hardy inhabits the interiority – the longings, fantasies and dreams – of the wife who lies beside her disgruntled (and presumably grunting) husband. She listens to the violins and cellos of the nearby dance where she mistakenly imagines her lover to be: She dreamt she was whirling with him, In this dance upon the green To which she had not been invited Though her love had been. (Hardy, Collected Poems, 875)

Empathy with this suburban Eustacia, qualified as it is by the admixture of a certain distancing comedy, surfaces in the phrase ‘whirling with him,’ which takes us momentarily into her dream of liberating turbulence and sexual captivation. An opposite, externalized, but actually more unreserved, display of sympathetic feeling emerges in ‘The Bird-Catcher’s Boy’, triggered by the boy’s own unconscious display of his sensitivity to the plight of the caged birds, in the ‘[h]arp-like way’ his fingers would sweep against the wires of the bird’s cages. Later, he ran away to sea to escape the profession, a detail that his parents poignantly remember after his drowning. Everyone in this poem is enclosed in some way, by pity, regret, refusal to listen, or grief, like the ‘caged choirs’ themselves. Appropriately, the poet does not presume to enter directly into the subjectivity of his personae, and the boy’s brushing of the bars appears

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 47 a figure for our own externalized, oblique, tactful, yet deeply sympathetic mode of relation. A different mode of response can be seen in ‘At the Railway Station – Upway’, where the poet surveys the incongruous scenario of the child playing the violin as the man in handcuffs absurdly sings ‘This life so free / Is the thing for me’. In this poem, the onlooker’s sympathy appears engaged not by the individuals so much as by the tableau of human existence that they collectively display. As Gillian Beer puts it: Voice and violin sing together the song within the song, so ironically inappropriate to the convict’s circumstances yet so apt to the moment of singing, ‘This life so free,’ continuing until ‘the train came in’. (Beer, ‘The Senses of Musical Settings’, 13)

Another, somewhat similar, poem that ultimately resonates with opposed meanings is ‘In the Waiting Room.’ The children, oblivious to the sordidness of their setting, irradiate the scene with their visionary faith in a time ‘when the band will play and the sun will shine’. The ultimate effect here, though, is not so much incongruity as pure indetermination – leaving us suspended between a worldly sense of the pathos and naivety of the children’s enthusiasm, and the opposite sense that such unworldliness is also glorious, necessary, and even redemptive.11 Further different kinds of formal configuration occur in autobiographical poems that have a musical element or situation, and that become vehicles for Hardy’s amorous longing or regret. Each of the following poems about Emma has its own peculiar angle or topos in dealing with her musicality: ‘The Change’, ‘Lost Love’, ‘Penance’, ‘The Musical Box’, or ‘The Last Performance.’ In ‘At the Piano’, to take an example of such a poem, a lady – presumably Emma – plays and the man listens in the first verse, mentally straying to ‘some fancy-place / Where pain had no trace’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 529). In the second verse, the poem introduces its counter-perspective of loss and time, personified in the bitterly mocking encroachment of an intrusive phantom figure, a ‘cowled Apparition’ whose admonitory presence at the scene is imagined in retrospect (Hardy, Complete Poems, 529). Structurally, this ironic juxtaposition is organized around the gap or blank between the two verses which introduces a presence real, divisive, and invisible. Similarly, it is harder to imagine two poems more different in tone, treatment, and focus than ‘In Death Divided’ inspired by Florence Henniker; or the celebratory ‘To Lizbie Browne’. Again, in two poems which seem to refer to Tryphena Sparks (‘The Dawn after the Dance’

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48 | M USIC and ‘In a Eweleaze near Weatherbury’) the centre of gravity in each seems more private, and linked to the encryption of the woman’s identity. More clearly, perhaps, there are other musical poems whose formative impulse appears to be a desire to translate into poetry the frisson of desire, or the pathos of unrealizable infatuation. Among these are poems provoked by society ladies or by chance encounters, and facilitated by music: ‘Concerning Agnes’, ‘To a Lady Singing and Dancing in the Morning’, and ‘On Stinsford Hill at Midnight’. Feelings of family love, in association with music, surface – again shaping the poems in different ways – in ‘Middle-Aged Enthusiasms’, inspired by Mary Hardy, and ‘One We Knew’, which renders vivid his grandmother’s memories of bygone dances, and makes the poem a vehicle for her sense that ‘Past things were to her as things existent, / Things present but as a tale’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 273). ‘One We Knew’, like ‘A Church Romance’, brings us to another main category: the poems that use music for the complex revisiting of the past, calling either to the poet’s personal memory, or to his historical sensitivity (often strangely clairvoyant again) to the facts, emanations, phantoms, and auras, of bygone times. The return – as haunting, memory, or dream – of the joys and associations of music themselves is the topic of so many poems, like ‘The Dead Quire’ where the sounds of the Mellstock Quire reproach the secular Christmasrevelry and warbling of their children and wives. The superior vividness of the past makes the present seem paradoxically an anachronism here, as in ‘Song to an Old Burden’ where the speaker feels temporarily dislocated, and ghostly: ‘Shall I sing, dance around around around / When phantoms call the tune!’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 830). In these poems, then, the revisitations of the past create a visionary space. The speaker himself becomes a liminal figure, animated by the past and haunting the present. Another example is ‘Reminiscences Of a Dancing Man’, where the speaker layers his recollection with the past’s own openness to ghostly visitations ‘Who now remembers Almack’s balls […] Where, as we trod to trilling sound / The fancied phantoms stood around’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 216–17). The former present (of Hardy’s youth) was itself a time out of time – shadowed, perforated, possessed by the past’s unaccountable, chiming, intimations – and this is again a matter of alliterative and metrical evocation (‘trod/trilling’/’fancied phantoms’). Tune turns to thought, is imbued with significance, as it becomes uncertain whether the past is haunting the present, or vice versa.12 Again, in ‘During Wind and Rain’ this temporal liminality shapes the poem in the speaker’s transitions as he enters imaginatively and

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 49 vividly into scenes that he then surveys from the outside, in the longer perspective of death and loss, They sing their dearest songs – He, she, all of them – yea, Treble and tenor and bass, And one to play; With the candles mooning each face . . . . Ah, no; the years O! How the sick leaves reel down in throngs! (Hardy, Complete Poems, 229)

Throughout this stanza the poem’s rending snapshot-effect, placing a vivid scene within the context of time’s erasures, is registered by the pauses, dashes, transitions and ellipses that again surround language (and the sensory pleasures it celebrates and produces) with silence. For the speaker, the counterpoint of sensory vividness and disembodiment is given by, for instance, the way the pleasurable musical enthusiasm is first evoked in second line, ‘He, she, all of them – yea’, before the poet shifts from lyrical identification with the group to a point outside it. So the sonic effects of the line – its initial congregation of rhythmical stresses preceding the final pause and resounding ‘yea’ – carry an evocative suggestion of shifts in tempo, and a rousing climax. This suggestion of collaborative musical pleasure can be contrasted with the line ‘With the candles mooning each face’, in which the poet is already moving to place the scene within the longer perspective of loss. The neologism ‘mooning’ here does convey a wonderfully apt visual image of the singer’s candle-lit faces, but it also suggests that they are now seen as being as insubstantial as the perception itself, or as temporary as the light of the candles or the phases of the moon. The phrase carries all the pathos of people now glimpsed as apparitional in the context of time, by a speaker who himself appears somewhat spectral at this moment, dissociated from the event. It is as if in his own monitory, baleful, perspective he was taking on some of the characteristics of the ‘cowled apparition’ in ‘At the Piano.’ So, the scene is ultimately viewed sub specie aeternitas by a speaker whose own characteristics of mobility, in time and place, unfold through a poem that arranges itself formally around its shuffling of contrary perspectives, as it enters into, observes, enjoys, and grieves – at a remove – over the wrenching transience of ‘their’ singing ‘their dearest songs’. In closing this account of Hardy’s uses of music in the poetry, I want to offer a brief reading of another familiar, and intimate poem: ‘The Self-Unseeing’. This is a poem which places the speaker himself at a

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50 | M USIC particularly Hardyan threshold, actually and figuratively, between different times and self-manifestations: a childhood time of innocence, collective joy, and contentment; and a later time where consciousness takes stock of the depredations of time, and the vanished togetherness: Here is the ancient floor, Footworn and hollowed and thin, Here was the former door Where the dead feet walked in. She sat here in her chair, Smiling into the fire; He who played stood there, Bowing it higher and higher. Childlike, I danced in a dream; Blessings emblazoned that day; Everything glowed with a gleam; Yet we were looking away! (Hardy, Complete Poems, 166–67)

John Lucas indicates that the poem evokes ballad metre. In ballad metre (a4b3a4b3), Carper and Attridge claim, the three beat lines – two and four – are supplemented by a virtual, phantom, beat.13 In this poem, though, lines one and three are seemingly also diminished, worn, to three beats (a3b3a3b3). However, the end-stopping and lack of run on lines throughout means that the absent fourth beat, the timehonoured line of English verse, appears still to haunt each line. The present scene is framed by a contemplative pausing that seeks to open it, and the versification, to the visitations of the past: B -o- B -oB [ o B] Here is the ancient floor, B -oB -oB [ o B] Footworn and hollowed and thin, B -oB o B [ o B] Here was the former door -oB ô B ô B o [B] Where the dead feet walked in.

The imagined former door and the imagined four-beat line complement each other, as the dead feet of the family come into poetic intimacy with the imagined beats, the absent feet, of the metre. For Hardy, like Proust or Bergson, the past was virtual itself, in the senses

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 51 of possessing a non-actual reality, of being blessed with its own powers of return, and of creating duration. The subtlety of Hardy’s versification here, to weave together what is sensed with ghostly imaginings of seeing and hearing, can be further seen in the final line, whose three main beats are distributed on three contiguous syllables ‘dead feet walked in’. Conversely, the final word of the line, ‘in’, on my reading is unstressed, leaving the final beat to be merely hallucinated, working with the implied off-beats (ô), between ‘dead’, and ‘feet’ and ‘walked’, so that the mind’s ear hears the absent footfall at the end, the last, emphatic, ghostly tread.14 The strange counterpoint between absence and presence informs the poem at every level. The initial and final beats throughout the poem’s first two stanzas capture the poet’s own engrossed joining of recollection and perception (‘Here . . . floor, Footworn . . . thin, Here . . . door, She . . . chair / Smiling . . . fire / He . . . there), and the poem climaxes with the intoxicated scene of the child’s dancing, Childlike, I danced in a dream; Blessings emblazoned that day; Everything glowed with a gleam; Yet we were looking away! (Hardy, Complete Poems, 166–67)

Lucas talks of the communal-anapaestic in Hardy’s poetry, and one can suggest too that metre and alliteration conspire to mimic the bravura bowings, and teasing rubato, of a fiddle melody in ¾ waltz time performed by ‘he who played’, though here through the use of an energetic dactylic rhythm that visits the words. This is particularly forceful and noticeable in the final verse where memory most permeates the poem (‘Childlike I / danced in a /Blessings em/blazoned that/ Everything /glowed with a / Yet we were /looking aw/-ay!) Of course, the irony of the nostalgia here is that it bears within itself its own critique, and the poem’s final line displays the self-divisions of speaker and family: even in this experience of communal joy, they were divided within themselves, and from each other, and from the present (‘Yet we were looking away!’). The ‘former door’ that offers escape from the present, ironically offered the same for the youthful Hardy: a route for ambition, Lucas has suggested.15 This brings us to Hardy’s characteristic and developing conviction that human consciousness appears inherently incapable of happiness or satisfaction, always yearning, regretting, or taking stock of something that contradicts it.16 Irreducible complexities of these kinds inhabit Hardy’s poems as a fractal principle of endlessly variable and divided constitution. Nonetheless, the topic and trope of music allows one to explore the

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52 | M USIC irrepressible forces of hope and desire. Time and again, music is the occasion for a moment of vision, a secular epiphany, in which the poet’s attention is turned over by the vital and sympathetic capacities of human beings. The mysterious indifference of the projective pulse of life reasserts itself perpetually in a world otherwise drained of hope. The reader often feels unsure how to respond to these promptings as do the mourners, ‘heavy-browed’ listening to the ‘bells’ insistent calls of joy’ in ‘After the Burial’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 876). There is a clear line of influence between many Hardy poems and those signature Wordsworth encounter poems where the poet finds himself admonished and captivated by the fathomless powers of survival of his discharged soldier, leech-gatherer, beggar, or old man travelling. For Wordsworth these figures reveal, as it were, a more than human power of human endurance, the effect of their experiences being commonly to obliterate the ordinary, inessential, preoccupations and distinguishing features of subjectivity. My suggestion too has been that affective responsiveness and ethical responsibility for Hardy are interwoven, as with Wordsworth, in fashioning verse that reveals the poet, as poet, through his eventual openness to the perhaps inadvertent self-revelation of the person he encounters. Yet for Hardy, in comparison, interest lies not in mere endurance so much as in the human power to revive, in the most straitened circumstances, the impulse to pleasure and enjoyment, and of individuality. Such figures incite Hardy to his own kind of musing wonder: the fiddler at Madam Tussaud’s, his beard straggly and grey, who still plays in the blissful trance of forty years previously; the cheerful tramp on his way to the workhouse who broke into song, after greeting the poem’s dejected speaker with ‘A merry Christmas, friend!’ at dismal, drizzly, twilight on the ‘blank high-road’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 846). These figures follow the automatic promptings of their nature to celebrate life, like the blinded bird who sings ‘zestfully’, ‘enjailed in pitiless wire’, and ‘resenting not such wrong’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 446), or the darkling thrush flinging forth ‘his soul / Upon the growing gloom’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 150).

I This second half of the chapter explores further how analysis of metre can develop Larkin’s suggestion of how each poem possesses its own singular ‘tune’ and ‘thought’. There follow three metrical readings of poems of an autobiographical kind with a musical theme, each of which displays general features of Hardy’s ironic yet ardent sensibility, as well as particularly recurrent themes in his poetry: respectively,

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 53 childhood innocence and community (‘Afternoon Service at Mellstock’; time and memory (‘Music on a Snowy Street’); and romance (‘Concerning Agnes’). Each discussion focuses on a single key metrical motif to show how fundamentally and variously metre is involved in the expressive specification of a poem. Hardy identified ‘Afternoon Service at Mellstock’ with the ‘strict’ church-going of his youth that resulted in him knowing ’the Morning and Evening Services by heart including […] large portions of the New Version of the Psalms’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 18). Dennis Taylor has indicated how influential for Hardy’s poetic sensibility were the metrically diverse hymns he sang as a child from Hymns Ancient and Modern, published in 1861, and also how ‘nostalgic [he] always [was] for the simple forms of Tate and Brady, whose hymns were often appended to church hymnbooks’, and which dated from 1696.17 It is the latter hymns which are mentioned in the poem, and its theme and scenario are simply described. The poet remembers his childhood self unthinkingly singing with his fellows, while the adult poet comes regretfully to ponder on what he has lost since. Pite points out that the poem works by inverting our assumption that the due deliberations of adulthood be preferred over the ‘empty-headed’ outpourings of childhood (Pite, Thomas Hardy, 86). Yet a study of the poem’s metre shows how far its expressive complexities are bound up with intonation as a vehicle for the affects and experiences of the childhood past, and the poet’s regretful sense of their passing.18 Here is the poem with metrical transcription: ‘Afternoon Service at Mellstock’ (Circa 1850) o Bo B o B o B On afternoons of drowsy calm o B -oB o B [B] We stood in the pannelled pew, B o O B o B O B o B Singing one-voiced a Tate-and-Brady psalm -oB o B o B [B] To the tune of ‘Cambridge New’. o B o B o B o B We watched the elms, we watched the rooks, o B o B o B [B] The clouds upon the breeze, o B o B o B o O o B Between the whiles of glancing at our books,

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54 | M USIC o B o B o B [B] And swaying like the trees. o B o B o B o B So mindless were those outpourings! – o B o B o B [B] Though I am not aware o B o B o B o B o B That I have gained by subtle thoughts on things o B o B o B [B] Since we stood psalming there. (Hardy, The Complete Poems, 429)

A very noticeable effect of the poem is its registering of the different states of childhood and adulthood. From the opening phrase, ‘On afternoons of drowsy calm’, the poem enters into the child’s sense of incorporation within the larger whole of this musical event, as his identity becomes merged with his fellows, the outer scene, and the music. For an indefinite interval, the limits of social and bodily identity appear abolished by self-forgetful, almost hypnotic immersion in the outer scene. The speaker – presumably aged about nine or ten – is inseparable from the assembly of children, the ‘We’ who sang ‘onevoiced’, and who together ‘watched the elms’, and ‘watched the rooks’. They were as dynamically and anonymously transported by their activity as ‘the clouds upon the breeze’ that they looked at, while ‘swaying like the trees’.19 But the main question remains: how can an account of metre sharpen our awareness of this interplay between the collective raptness of the children’s singing, and the adult’s reflections, and sense of belatedness? To begin with, it is worth emphasizing that the poem employs tetrameter as its basic metre, a choice that would seem appropriately evocative, in that it is the most long-standing line in English verse, as well as the metre of ballad, hymns, and most of the psalms in Tate-and-Brady (‘O Lord, my Rock, to thee I cry/ in Sighs consume my Breath’).20 Earlier John Lucas was quoted as plausibly suggesting that Hardy often employs tetrameter and the hymn or ballad metre to invoke relatedness and socialty, and further identified the incidental ‘invasions’ of anapaestic (-o- B) metre (‘ in the panelled pew’, ‘To the tune’), as a characteristic means by which Hardy will summon effects of ‘the collective, communal “we” or “they”’, through ‘the social forms of hymn and ballad’ (John Lucas, ‘Hardy Among the Poets’, 200).

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 55 More specifically though, the poem turns on the conflict between the world of childhood – and its spontaneous, automatic kinds of expressive concord – and the speaker’s final, regretful, musings.21 In suggesting briefly how far this constitutive sense of disjunction in the poem is a matter of metre, I want to concentrate on one important, reiterated, rhythmical motif that bears on the poem’s returning, constricting, sense of adult, social subjectivity: this is Hardy’s use of an extra metrical foot in the third line of each verse. This does not constitute an adoption of pentameter here, despite the consistency of the usage, since what is at issue is an effect of unsought interference and complication of the tetrameter. In each case, the lines, as we shall see, produce an effective bathos explicitly associated with what one might call the fall into adult social subjectification. Sonically speaking, this complication could be described as a kind of metrical knot associated with the extra foot and associated with adult awareness. Certainly, the musically lilting or anapaestic element associated with the children’s collective and unreflecting experience is missing in these lines. Indeed, each of these five-beat lines is peculiarly awkward both in metre and in thought, introducing a contrary, dislocating idea and rhythmical effect at the heart of each stanza. So, the poem becomes riven, in substance and meaning, by an effective contrast between these lines and the intermittent fluencies elsewhere, an example perhaps of that signature effect of ‘cunning irregularity’ in metre that Hardy sought, and identified with the life of his verse (F. E, Hardy, Life, 301). But the motivation and effect can be simply stated in each case: Hardy wishes to make the line register the dragging return of subjective, adult, awareness. So, in the first such line, the effect is comically to suggest, through a certain emphatic rhythmic awkwardness (turning on the emphasized off-beats on ‘one-voiced’ and ‘Tate-and-Brady’), how drowsy children might find themselves struggling to fit the words to music, stumbling and running the words together in haste, to catch up with the tune or cram words into it: B o O B o B O B o B Singing one-voiced a Tate-and-Brady psalm

A similar sense of constraint is evident too in the corresponding line in the second verse. Initially, in the opening lines of that stanza, the phases of the children’s unthinking, collective absorption in the natural world outside is given by those beautifully punctuated harmonies of lines that have a musician’s command of breath in shaping passages, and lending a curving, lilting sway to the phrases:

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56 | M USIC We watched the elms, we watched the rooks, The clouds upon the breeze,

The physicality of the children’s singing is almost miraculously conveyed in these lines that associate them with the elms and rooks that capture their gaze, as they compose a common rhythm with each other, and the trees and ‘clouds upon the breeze’. However again in the third line, there is a falling off, from this joyfully and expressive absent-mindedness. The line explicitly describes a movement back from bodily ease to a cognitive struggle with words: o B o B o B o O o B Between the whiles of glancing at our books,

Here we are again brought down to earth, as it were, in a line which is difficult to scan (not least again because of the emphasized off-beat) and difficult to construe, and which bears on the children’s eyes themseves turning repeatedly down to the words on the page. Thus the reader will hesitate and struggle, like the ten-year-olds glancing at the books, as we work out the awkward neologism, ‘Between the whiles’ . . . In this way, the line itself suggests comically and touchingly the interruptive cognitive process of spelling out words in intervals between ‘glances’ down at the page. In such ways, the third line in each stanza uses its rhythmical and semantic complexity to give us pause, and to convey the poem’s sense of the child’s troubled transition to more contorted states and acts of mind, and the mysterious doctrines and public requirements of the adult world. The sense of the complicating, halting, effects of socialization thus anticipates the climactic thought of the final five beat line – this time now a recognisable, if still slightly strained, pentameter – in verse three: o B o B o B [B] Though I am not aware o B o B o B o B o B That I have gained by subtle thoughts on things

Take out the word ‘subtle’, which knots the line with the extra beat again (awkwardly on its first syllable), and it scans far more easily . . . Suitably enough, though, this extra word (conventionally associated with the machinations of Satan in the garden) again enacts and suggests how knowledge and consciousness will fashion or develop a

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 57 troubled crease of interiority within the innocence of the childhood world. The second poem here, ‘Music in a Snowy Street’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 735–36), is similarly based on a past incident, of late April 1884. However, rather differently it is an incident that has been significantly subject to change in the telling. Firstly, Hardy transposes the remembered event to a wintry setting and month, and secondly, he alters its expressive quality. The pretext of the poem is given in the Life. A band of four sisters, presumably of Romany origin and garlanded in flowers and jewels, are seen twice in one day ‘playing opposite Parmiter’s in the High Street’ in Dorchester (F. E. Hardy, Life, 165). It was, Hardy wrote, a ‘[c]urious scene’, with a ‘fine poem in it’ and he went on explicitly to emphasize the connection of the group scene with ‘Music in a Snowy Street’. In the morning the girls are perceived as worldly itinerants, hard bent on commerce: The eldest had a fixed, old, hard face, and wore white roses in her hat […] The next sister, with red roses in her hat, had rather bold, dark eyes and a coquettish smirk […] (F. E. Hardy, Life, 165)

By the evening though, they have become transformed, under the unaccountably harmonious influences of music and setting, into an involuntary expressiveness that recaptures their innocence and draws out the filial loving-kindness between them: I saw them again in the evening, the silvery gleams from Saunders’s [silver-smith’s] shop shining out upon them. They were now sublimed to a wondrous charm. The hard face of the eldest was flooded with soft solicitous thought; the coquettish one was no longer bold but archly tender; her dirty white roses were pure as snow; her sister’s red ones a fine crimson: the brass earrings were golden; the iron triangle silver; the tambourine Miriam’s own; the third child’s face that of an angel; the fourth that of a cherub. The pretty one smiled on the second, and began to play ‘In the gloaming’, the little voices singing it. Now they were what Nature made them, before the smear of ‘civilization’ had sullied their existences. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 165)

What is striking about ‘Music in a Snowy Street’ though, as the incident passes into poetry, is that Hardy comes to locate the tension between expressive renewal and circumstance solely within the mind of the onlooker, so that the poem’s axes of ‘tune’ and ‘thought’ become the opposition between, on the one hand, the speaker’s susceptibility to music’s specific power to reawaken the past, and, on the other, that

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58 | M USIC returning sense of lowering reality ultimately associated with the girls’ on-going indifference and ignorance regarding the past associations of the music they play. Hence the anecdote’s contrast between the earlier and later part of the day becomes transposed into the internal subjective tensions of the speaker: the contrast between his world-weary awareness of the cold and snowy setting of the present time, and his reminiscences of that earlier youthful time, ‘when life was no trial’. This is sharpened by the ironic fact that the girls themselves, driven by money, play ‘without passion’ or consideration for the historical resonances of the music that still mean so much to the poet-listener. In the opening, nonetheless, despite the girl’s indifference, he becomes aware that their music still has the power to effect in his mind a subtle infiltration of the carefree past. This is conveyed metrically by the first stanza’s graceful anapaests (-o- B) that summon a suitably transporting kind of metrical counter-time: o B -o- B The weather is sharp, -oB -oB But the girls are unmoved: o B -oB One wakes from a harp, o B -o- B The next from a viol, o B -o- B A strain that I loved o B -oB When life was no trial

This passing fluency is not replicated, though, in the second stanza, which gradually imposes a chastening perspective of linear time and finitude. So initially the previous enlivening iambic/anapaestic pattern appears to be maintained in the opening lines (‘The tripletime beat / Bounds forth on the snow’). However, this second line can also be read differently, depending on whether one reads the emphasized word ‘bounds’, as taking full stress as it might seem to, though this would be disrupt this dominant patterning. The readings a) and b) below spell out these two possibilities. My suggestion is that the indeterminacy suggests a turn in the stanza, as the speaker’s attitude comes to move towards a more overarching, rueful view of things: o B -oB The tripletime beat

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 59 a) O B -oB b) B ô b -oB Bounds forth on the snow,

In the next line too, the stanza’s concluding awareness of mortality emerges more decisively in the definite initial beat, on the word ‘But’. In terms of ‘tune’ the word decisively displaces the mesmerizing musicality of the anapaestic, and in terms of ‘thought’, it decisively contradicts its happy influence, framing from the position of the bereft present the returning vision of the dancing and embracing couples ‘of a century ago’. Syntax, semantics and metre thus join together, while the consciousness of time comes to frame, qualify and attenuate the influx of the imagined past, and the effect of the iambic-anapaestic. The finality of death, like the finality of grammar, inexorably comes to enclose this vision consciously within the stanza’s overarching sentence of death (‘But the spry springing feet […] are silent old bones’), b o B ô B o B But the spry springing feet -o- B -o- B Of a century ago -oB -o- B And the arms that enlaced -o- B -oB As the couples embraced,

As the stanza moves to its close, the jolting, ironic perception that dominates is that these springing, embracing lovers are now fragmentary bundles of bone. Interestingly though, the poem’s tension – between an affirmative view of life as forgetfully and innately expressive, and a rueful awareness of time and gruesome reality – surfaces again in metre, through an important duality. One can see this as corresponding to divergent possibilities for scanning the metre, as the poem moves to its end. Interestingly, however, although the lines describe the silence of the grave, the ghost of the musical past still can be said to appear as an effect of intonation and meaning that haunts this conviction. In the penultimate line, this duality can be described again by examining a tension between two ways of scanning it: a) o B -oB b) o B o B ô B Are silent old bones

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60 | M USIC As in the other case, it seems plausible to argue that the point here is the tension between the two – of a speaker riven between the oscillation of forgetful pleasure and the returning sense of human mortality – that configures the poem. The jaunty anapaestic music becomes eclipsed, yet still haunts the line, a sonic equivalent of the ghost of departed music and movement that hovers, now fadingly, in the poem. A similar eclipse of the musical anapaestic occurs in the final line, too where it echoes momentarily at the beginning of the line, again in passing as it were, before being interred by the onset of spondaic finality, by the weighty slabs of sound that convey, amusically, the poem’s lowering vision of gravestones, and bodily decay. Here too the implied off-beats suggest the silent destructive work of death, as youthfully pliable, enlacing arms become old bones beneath the gray slabs of stone: o Bo B ô B Are silent old bones -oB o B ôB Under graying grave stones.22

In this poem, then, it is the persona in the poem that is the focus, and the final two stanzas following communicate the speaker’s reflective framing of the event, as he contemplates the outer scene, and the reality and ironies of music’s power to transcend time. He considers how this the ‘rout-raising tune’ can become alive again in these grimy lyres, despite the girls’ ignorance of the music they play. Unlike the previous poem, there is no sense of any interpersonal event of musical transport. Rather, the poem is concerned with the inner world of memory, as he, like the lyres, becomes a kind of vehicle or instrument for the music of the past. He acknowledges that ‘old notes like these / Are living on yet’ in himself, though everyone else, including the players are oblivious to them. Only the old instruments themselves are reawakened, and he is prompted to reflections of their participation in night-time revels of long ago. Tim Armstrong has pointed out that the poem’s emphasis is ‘on the instrument itself rather than the players: it is the harp and the viol that remember a history’, but in this way then, they are intimately associated with the speaker himself, who finds his own capacities for musical experience revived by the notes: 23 The snow-feathers sail Across the harp-strings, Whose throbbing threads wail Like love-satiate things.

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 61 Each lyre’s grimy mien, With its rout-raising tune, Against the new white Of the flake-laden noon, Is incongruous to sight, Hinting years they have seen Of revel at night Ere these damsels became Possessed of their frame. O bygone whirls, heys, Crotchets, quavers, the same That were danced in the days Of grim Bonaparte’s fame, Or even by the toes Of the fair Antoinette, Yea, old notes like those Here are living on yet! – But of their fame and fashion How little these know Who strum without passion For pence, in the snow! (Hardy, Complete Poems, 735–36)

My final example is ‘Concerning Agnes’, published in ‘Winter Words’, and written not long after the death of Agnes Grove in 1926. Within it, Hardy reminisces on an evening spent in early September 1895 at Larmer Tree Gardens, Rushmore, Wiltshire where Hardy ‘led the country dance, partnering Agnes, [General Augustus Henry Lane Fox] Pitt-Rivers’ youngest daughter, the wife of Walter Grove’, when she would have been in her early thirties.24 In the first line (the poem is transcribed in its entirety below) the speaker acknowledges that he is now stopped from hoping what he has often hoped before: that he can dance again with her, as on that August evening evoked with such enchanted exactitude in the first two stanzas. They danced on the lawns while the moon ‘looked through/The boughs of the faery lamps’ before he held her hand in some shaded seclusion, to the boom of bass notes and pulse of dancing feet from the far rooms.25 In the third stanza he addresses the reader as one who will have drawn the obvious conclusion in his or her own mind: that Agnes has died. However, the speaker does not explicitly state or name the fact of death, and merely tells us that her body now exists in a different kind of privacy: ‘in a nook I have never seen’.

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62 | M USIC In fact, effective indirection is the principle of the poem throughout, as it was of the lived relation between the pair. The speaker’s avowed and recurrent wish to dance and have contact with Agnes again was itself implicitly proscribed in life, for obvious reasons, precipitating the circuitous and prolonged relationship between the two, over a thirtyyear period, narrated in Desmond Hawkins’s book, Concerning Agnes. Within the poem itself, death merely exacerbates this lived pattern, whereby fantasy and desire coexisted with impossibility (‘I am stopped from hoping what I have hoped before . . . I could not, though I should wish . . . I could not . . . ’). However, what the metrical reading suggests is how far the poem’s moving effects depend on the expressed tension in the speaker’s voice between acknowledging and suspending his awareness of Agnes’s death. In fact, her parting has merely added another spiral to the circuits of a mind divided between the negations of circumstance, and the revivifying infiltrations of memory and longing. In the third stanza, this indirection is movingly employed in relation to Agnes’s dead body. Nowhere in the poem does Hardy describe Agnes herself as he saw her when living, but he does here imagine her unseen corpse with vivid precision. In doing so, he compounds this imagining again with his habitual fantasy of Agnes, and draws the reader into it. How does this work? Strangely enough, by describing not the living Agnes that he often saw, but the corpse he merely imagined. The epithets he uses – ‘unapproachable’, ‘mute’, lying ‘white’, ‘straight’, with rigid features – have for the reader the effect of a photonegative that animates and develops our own imaginings of how opposite she was in life: how approachable, voluble, colourful, vital, curvaceous, mobile, pliant, fluent, and expressive . . . 26 So the final phrase, ‘marble-keen’, suggests perhaps a contrary kind of ‘keenness’, applicable to her eager personality, as well as the living warmth, colour, and softness that must have inspired these negations, in that different kind of ‘nook’ at Larmer Avenue, where the two sat as he took her hand. Again, in the fourth stanza Hardy uses another kind of indirection to summon Agnes to life in the reader’s mind, through classical references that again imply characteristics of her that he does not explicitly draw out, though once more the reader does. The poet likens her current statute-like figure in succession to that of Aphrodite (the desirable goddess of love); to Kalupso (of the enchanting voice who detains Odysseus, and prevents him returning to his wife27); to Amphitrite (the goddess of the sea variously identified as a sea goddess, or the wife of Poseiden); or else to one of the muses, ‘grown stiff from thought’. These classical proxies again both deny and provoke our imagining of

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 63 the real Agnes, who embodies, we infer, something of their beauty, their beguiling qualities, their fluency, as well as their inspiring capacities for thought and art. Hardy’s perception of all these features surface in Hawkins’s book, but here it is the reader who supplies them, in the absence of Agnes herself. Turning to metre, one can see how it intimately contributes to the poem’s expression of these contraries and double-binds within the speaker’s riven consciousness, as desire is provoked by constraint, and expressed by indirection. Taking the first two stanzas to begin with, the tension between the unsparing acknowledgement of death and the insistent revisitings of romance are clearly evident structurally, as a shift from the opening two lines in each case. In these, the speaker first addresses the reader with his sense of negation, before the verse unfolds its contrarily evocative, desiring magic. In both stanzas, he begins by asserting that death has conclusively interrupted his hopes and wishes, to renew the romantic enchantment of the former evening: ‘I am stopped from hoping what I have hoped before – Yes, many a time! – […] I could not, though I should wish, have over again / That old romance’. These opening pairs of lines employs anapaestic (-o- B), iambic (o B) and occasional trochaic (B o) elements to create a vividly arresting, yet self-interrupting, idiom where conscious denial appears tossed by underlying emotional turbulences. By such means, the longings that he claims have been extinguished or stopped appear still to grip his words, before coming to flower imaginatively in the lines that follow: -o- B o B o O -oB o B I am stopped from hoping what I have hoped before – B ô B o o B [B] Yes, many a time! – o B o B o B o B ô B ô B To dance with that fair woman yet once more B o o B As in the prime o B o B o B ô B ô B o B Of August, when the wide-faced moon looked through o B -oB o B -oB o B o B The boughs of the faery lamps of the Larmer Avenue. -oB ô O -oB o Bo o B I could not, though I should wish, have over again o B o B That old romance,

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64 | M USIC o B o B -oB o B ô B ô B And sit apart in the shade as we sat then o B o B After the dance o B o B o B O -oB The while I held her hand, and to the booms o B o B o B ô B ô B -oB o B Of contrabassos, feet still pulsed from the distant rooms.

In both stanzas, then, the opening address to the reader yields to a much more private reverie, as the stanza expands with the speaker’s vivid conjuration of the past scene. These lines (of the experience of the past) now as it were interrupt the former interruption (of the present knowledge of death), and push it aside. The language here is equally arresting, but now in a contrasting way: it conveys not an incursive, supposedly inclusive, knowledge, but a physical and affective expressivity. In the transcription above, I have highlighted in bold the striking motif that runs through the poem, and which I am concentrating on here. This is the use of implied off-beats between three consecutively stressed beats. As we have seen in ‘Music in a Snowy Street’ (and shall see again), this metrical figure is often associated with the nullifying sense of death by Hardy, and eventually it will be used in this way in this poem also. However, to begin with, in these first two stanzas, it crucially conveys something totally opposite: the reawakening in Hardy’s mind of the arresting physical immediacies of that former evening, and those vivid affects and sensations which detain him once again: ‘yet once more . . . wide-faced moon . . . we sat then . . . feet still pulsed’. Each expansive and rhythmic phrase, with three successive beats, here pins the reader to the manifold, vitalizing intensities of the past scene, and expresses the speaker’s wish to be detained there again, by the plenitudes of a past whose invasive booms and pulses can still, though distant, suspend the claims of custom and the present. The third and fourth stanzas further obey the dialectical, see-saw logic of the poem, not least by inverting the structural priorities of the former two verses. Now in each stanza, intimations of vitality give way to the returning awareness of death rather than displacing it. Thus the opening lines still frame what follows according to the speaker’s lowering awareness of the facts (‘Hence you infer/That . . . ; There she may rest . . . ’). However, now (comparable to the turn to the framing knowledge of death in ‘Music in a Snowy Street) these statements run on in each case in the acknowledgement of death that will expand the verse and provide it with its over-arching topic:

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‘Tune and Thought’ | 65 -oB -oB o B o B I could not. And you do not ask me why, B -o- B Hence you infer o B ô B ô B -o- B o B o o B That what may chance to the fairest under the sky o B o B Has chanced to her. B -oB ô B ô B o B o B Yes, she lies white, straight, features marble-keen, -o- B o B ô B -o- B -o- B o B Unapproachable, mute, in a nook I have never seen. B -oB o B ô B ô B o B There she may rest like some vague goddess, shaped o B o B As out of snow; O Bo Bo B o O o B Say Aphrodite sleeping; or bedraped o B o B Like Kalupso; o B o Bo B -oB ô B ô B Or Amphitrite stretched on the Mid - sea swell, o B -0B o B o B o B o B Or one of the Nine grown stiff from thought, I cannot tell! (Hardy, Collected Poems, 878)

In bold again, I have marked here the motif of three consecutive beats separated by the absent, yet implied off-beats. Once again, it occurs four times again in these two final stanzas: first it refers emphatically to the consciousness of death as accidental yet irrevocable (‘what may chance . . . has chanced to her’); then it depicts her corpse (‘she lies white, straight, features’) as the speaker’s mind becomes detained again. This time though he is detained not by fantasy and memory, but by this contrary kind of imaginative act, visualizing death. However, the serpentine logic of the poem, imbricating denial and desire, is still evident as has been suggested, since the description of the corpse appears to provoke fantasies of the living Agnes, glowing and vital. Certainly, the final case of this metrical figure again similarly complicates the framing sense of death’s finality, within the last stanza’s use of classical similes to layer the oppositions of death and renewed fantasy. Thus, the speaker uses the motif of three consecutive beat here to liken her body first to ‘some vague goddess’, in an idiom

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66 | M USIC whose own very vagueness and indefiniteness suspends our awareness of her initially, though it also spurs us to begin to imagine her otherwise, through her identification with various goddesses. So, in the final use of this three-beat motif, Hardy sees her, as Amphitrite, ‘stretched on the Mid-sea swell’. Here the hyphenated phrase catches the pause and pitch of the sea with which Hardy identifies Agnes here, as if he is consigning her body once again to the impersonal immanence of the material world and its emergent capacities for transporting events of rhythm and expression. Here too, the word ‘stretched’ is perhaps ambivalent, like the other verbs – ‘rest’, ‘sleeping’, ‘grown stiff from thought’ – which again condense and secrete the poem’s oscillations and double-think concerning Agnes, as if she were still susceptible to rising or being revived again. In the final line, appropriately, Hardy associates her explicitly with the muses, and the transporting, creative powers of art and thought. The final words of the poem, ‘I cannot tell’ in its own ambivalence, bring full circle the poem’s registering of a mind suspended between what it knows and what it feels: the incalculable, untellable facts of death, and the unavowable, now impossible, facts of love or desire.

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CHAPTER

3

‘Music and Context’ Hardy’s Poetry and Fiction In recent years, writers on Hardy have seen to it that the topic of music has been given a comparable value to that which he granted it himself, in the countless musical scenes, incidents, references, and allusions that feature throughout his work, the notebooks, the letters, and the Life..1 Attention to Hardy’s perpetual emphasis on musical responsiveness – and its association with desire, class, community, history, family, and romance – has coincided with an opening and broadening sense of his intellectual world. As biographers and critics have pondered the subtleties of his intricate representations of music, so these discussions themselves have also often appeared to parallel, even to be in a form dialogue with, many of those far-reaching investigations – scientific, sociological, aesthetic, philosophical – that attracted him as a reader throughout his life. So, to take one important example, questions of the nature of mind – of its temporal, social, or affective features; of its unconscious, affective or material conditions – emerge from any close study of Hardy’s writing on music, so searchingly does it evoke and reflect on the often paradoxical features of musical events, and their resistance to the integral logic of consciousness, will, or chronology. At the same time, such discussions contribute new accents to those more familiar contexts in Hardy studies: the biographical, the literary historical, the social, the aesthetic and the metrical. As accounts of the role of music in Hardy’s work commonly emphasize how it prises open the socially enforced closures of subjectivity, so they have coincided with a qualification of stubborn, received images of the author himself as identifiable with his own solitary and brooding consciousness, in both the work and life.2 One simple illustration of music’s role as a trope in this revision of the biographical context is provided again by Claire Tomalin who, at the conclusion of her book, summons as her abiding image of her subject, ‘the fiddler’s son, with music in his blood and bone . . . dancing on the stone cottage floor, outside time, oblivious, ecstatic’ (Tomalin, Thomas Hardy, 380).

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68 | M USIC Tomalin’s reminder implies how Hardy studies and biography tend to neglect such a self-forgetful Hardy, where other images tend to prevail – Hardy as morbidly secretive, as consumed by marital discontent, or as an increasingly bitter iconoclast.3 In musical episodes, the incommensurability, and tension, between Hardy’s ‘ecstatic temperament’ and the unsparing, dispirited, counter-tendency, often appears as the mainspring of Hardy’s art. Though a Hardy speaker or narrator will ruefully exact a ‘full look at the worst’,4 one can always detect the traces of that formative susceptibility to pleasure from Hardy’s first precocious beginnings as a musician, described by Paul Turner: Hardy soon learned to play the violin too, and to ‘tweedle from notation’, as he put it, ‘hundreds of jigs and country dance tunes that he found in his father’s and grandfather’s old books’. (Turner, Life of Thomas Hardy, 6)

At this point there arise the crucial ethnographic, as well as personal, questions about the double-bind facing Hardy as a metropolitan novelist drawing on this retreating familial and social world, and the powerfully informing perception of cultural and historical change. Mark Ford has written eloquently of the nested uncertainties of personal, modern, and regional identity: If Hardy’s Wessex emerges from his fiction as both a pastoral ‘dream country’ and as a region culturally shaped by many of the dominant features of Victorian industrialization, such as the ‘railways, the penny post, mowing and reaping machines, union workhouses, lucifer matches’ to quote from the catalogue of nineteenth-century innovations to be found in ‘modern Wessex’ given in the 1895 preface to Far from the Madding Crowd, then it is surely possible to read this duality as reflecting mid-century Dorset’s uncertainty about the extent to which progress was embracing or rejecting it, invading or ignoring it. (Ford, Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner, 27)

In terms of music, as suggested earlier, this corresponds to Hardy’s mixture of defiance, antiquarianism, and defensiveness over his attachments to musical traditions that could be seen as merely provincial, regional, and outmoded. At the same time, Hardy’s own musical enthusiasms went beyond those of rural Dorset. Though they are too manifold to do full justice to here, their scope is worth briefly surveying, since it highlights so many facets of those social, class, and historical contexts that shaped his sensibility. His tastes ranged from older music-hall songs to mili-

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‘Music and Context’ | 69 tary bands; from quadrilles heard in the street to hymns of humble dedication loved since childhood; from music associated with days gone by to piano music played by Emma; from concert recitals to more intimate soirées; from musical effects in nature, or bird-song, to visits from singing undergraduates to Max Gate. At this point, clearly, the musical-historical trails lead off and divide in every direction, as far as the eye can see: for those concerned with the rise of the metropolitan music-hall; or with musicological researches into the links of music and birdsong; or for those concerned (like Hardy himself) with documenting or conserving early nineteenth-century cultures of church or folk music.5 Indeed, the celebration and exploration of Hardy’s own musical tastes and associations has led to musical items now being a staple of the Dorchester Conferences, and important recent work has also begun to recover Hardy’s relationships with composers, many of whom visited him like Edvard Greig, or responded to his work with pieces or settings.6 Within his lifetime, these included Rutland Broughton, Gerald Finzi, Gustav Holst, and John Ireland, and the list has continued to expand since. The further pursuit of the significances of Hardy’s musicality, and his perpetual emphasis on musical responsiveness, has also helped place him in turn within ever-new and shifting critical discussions alert to contemporaneous musical culture and aesthetic discourse.7 A developing interest in this topic has coincided with the advent of a bourgeoning and differentiated, interdisciplinary field concerned with the interfaces of music, culture, and literature in the nineteenth-century.8 In terms of literary criticism, too, the efflorescence of interest in Hardy and music has been itself diverse in the contexts it has invoked. Recent critics have concentrated on the musical allusions or effects of the poetry; on music as a trope for sensibility, inspiration and pleasure; on music as a solvent for social constructions of gender and class; on music as a philosophical topos for anti-rationalist metaphysics; on music and folk-song culture.9 Further, as mentioned, one of the most important aspects of this broad concentration on issues of music in Hardy has been that it has led to an acknowledgement of those facets of his work that associate it with the most significant explorations undertaken within nineteenth-century, and early twentieth-century, culture, and thought. Later parts of this discussion will summarize the prevalent features of Hardy’s representation of musical experience – its dynamic, physical, involuntary, and collective aspects. But contextually speaking, one finds that discussion of such characteristics leads into those works that always fascinated him, intellectually, and temperamentally: for instance, the scientific or socio-economic thinking about evolution of

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70 | M USIC Charles Darwin or Herbert Spencer; or J. S. Mill’s secular thoughts about individuality, society, and progress.10 Later, there was a turn to related interests, though of a more overtly philosophical and antirationalist kind – the positivism of Comte, the materialism of Von Hartman, the pragmatism of James, the vitalism of Bergson, the metaphysics of the unconscious in Schopenhauer. What it is perhaps particularly important to emphasize here, is the reciprocal relation between Hardy’s reading and writing in these respects. Indeed, the former can seem to be directed by abiding intellectual questions that he sought also to articulate and express in the writing, and that can often appear to be construed in terms of musical experience. Most usefully, this context allows one to consider at the level of the written texture, as it were (rather than that more familiar level of authorial pronouncement) the responsive, philosophical dimensions of Hardy’s work. More fancifully, perhaps, in this context, Hardy can even seem peculiarly uncanny, as Claire Seymour has argued, anticipating Freud’s essay in advance. By another description, he can be called untimely, as though his work were itself taking on some of the anachronistic features he often attributes to music itself. Hence Gilles Deleuze offers an appreciation of Hardy’s fictional characters that provides the starting point for the chapter that follows, and that broadly informs the discussions of this book as a whole. Deleuze sees Hardy as exemplifying his own empiricist philosophy of becoming. Deleuze describes them as ‘packets of sensation in the raw’, ‘bloc[s] of variable sensations’, encountering each other ‘along the line of chance’ (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 30). The cognate metaphysical and ethical issues here, staged and expressed through Hardy’s representation of musical events, might be how sensation becomes spirit; how the body or face expresses soul; how unconscious intelligence eclipses conscious intentions; how bodies relate affectively or collectively; how individuality is revealed through powers of response resistant to will. In this respect, poems and fictions reverberate not only with evocations of music but with unresolved, yet far-reaching, queries about its strange powers. One might expand these points through revisiting the somewhat cryptic note of 25 June 1887 – where Hardy described one of the frequent concerts he attended in later years, At a concert at Prince’s Hall I saw Souls outside Bodies. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 201)

I suggested in Chapter 2 that one might suspect that what gripped Hardy initially in this episode was his impression of the women, their

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‘Music and Context’ | 71 faces and bodies self-forgetfully rapt by the effect of the music. Motivating as the erotic element might appear though, the remark typically goes beyond the biographical, betraying a larger curiosity of this incipiently philosophical kind. Hardy’s formulation of ‘Souls outside Bodies’, conveys a writerly fascination that circulates provisionally around the question of how one can use words to convey the strangeness of this everyday experience: the collective entrancement, the subliming of identity, that crystallizes in a concert hall. In Hardy’s work, more broadly, too, music is not simply outside or inside a subject, as it were, as an object of experience that might be consumed or contemplated, but is, rather, represented more as a consuming, process of becoming and self-change describable in terms of its effects of conduction, resonance, and reverberation. Within this process, everyone – writer, character, and reader – encounters each other and themselves in revelatory ways. Musical experience, like music itself, was described in the last chapter as an antiphonal process, but it is a further, philosophically important aspect of its moments of incorporation and variation that the ontological features of music become reproduced in the dynamic events it brings about.11 In this broadening metaphysical context, it no longer seems simply figurative to talk about a character’s self-change in terms of ensembles, counterpoint, or duration, and quasi-musical passages of variation and improvisation that transcend the centripetal logic of cognition or volition, the barriers of class, and the closures of chronological time. The ethical and aesthetic values that inform Hardy’s own writing appear too as those that most decisively transmitted themselves to those influenced by him. One recalls here Virginia Woolf’s memorable reference to his capacity to be ‘taken be surprise’ by an unforeseen inspiration of sensibility. Woolf saw him as one of those authors, like Dickens or Scott, who ‘seem suddenly and without their own consent to be lifted up and swept onwards’, as on a ‘wave’, as ‘[w]ith a sudden quickening of power which we cannot foretell, nor […] control, a single scene breaks off from the rest’ (Woolf, ‘The Novels of Thomas Hardy’, 247). At this point, one can recall the interweaving of music, waves, movement, and subjectivity; the unmoored mixtures of comedy and tragedy; and the breaks with novelistic good form and conventional voice in Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out. Hardy’s imaginative dependence on fugitive or transgressive scenes, on uncertain yet beguiling intervals, is close also to D. H. Lawrence’s formulation of Hardy’s characters perpetually bursting or struggling into being.12 While it is clear what Lawrence took from Hardy as an exponent of unconscious desire, it would also be worth exploring how his actual representation of music drew on Hardeyan elements,

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72 | M USIC however much it may have tended perhaps to be more polarized – a matter of atavistic, working-class, or bourgeois alternatives. The important point, though, is that Hardy’s great influence, in aesthetic terms, appears to have lain in features that fictionally subvert the integral, purposive logic of time and identity, and that replicate for the author the corresponding sway, for reader and character, of desire over cognition. Further studies could reflect how powerfully music as a theme within, or as figure for, Hardy’s writing in this context allows one to draw out Hardy’s influences on these and other admirers, like John Cowper Powys or Marcel Proust.13 For Hardy the poet, as ‘Shelley’s Skylark’, ‘The Darkling Thrush’, or ‘A Singer Asleep’ display, the motif of music was inevitably associated with his troubled lyricism, and a sense of belatedness even more acute than that experienced by earlier Romantic or post-Romantic poets. James Knowles remembered Tennyson, for instance, formulating the paradox that his own mellifluousness coincided with a lack of feeling for music, Tennyson was fond of saying that he had no training in music and no real appreciation of it, whereas Browning knew a great deal about it and loved it, but that ironically Browning’s poetry had no music while his own overflowed with it.14

In a juvenile Tennyson poem, ‘The Exile’s Harp’, a Byronic protagonist, echoing the psalms, takes leave from the ancestral home, and the lost, perhaps forbidden, joys of music. His gesture prefigures how far Tennysonian artifice, and self-projection, will continue to be predicated on displacement and grief, I will hang thee, my Harp, by the side of the fountain, On the whispering branch of the lone-waving willow.15

For Hardy, as for Browning’s Christian speaker in ‘Abt Vogler’, music does not immure, but is transfiguring and mysterious, its epiphanic raptures insistently signalling for the speaker to some possibility of renewal. (For Vogler, of course, unlike Hardy, this takes the form of faith, ‘All that we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good shall exist’. 16 ) In the rigour and depth of his manifold explorations of music, Browning appears to be Hardy’s great mentor. Both poets are critically aware always of the transience of its transports and intimations, and adept at capturing its intermissiveness. Even Abt Vogler’s affirmations are shadowed by the recognition that ‘Well, it is gone at last, the palace of music I reared’ (The Poems; Vol. 1, 780). The musician-speaker of

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‘Music and Context’ | 73 ‘A Toccata of Galuppi’s’ opines dejectedly at the music’s cold rigour, even as the poem’s metre evokes the evocative work of the music itself, ‘Here you come with your old music, and here’s all the good it brings’ (The Poems; Vol. 1, 550). As this might suggest, the musical example of Browning was also, importantly, metrical, since his poetry exemplifies the tension, even division, between prosodic pattern and spoken language that Dennis Taylor suggested was the key feature in comprehending the rhythms of Hardy’s poetry, and its abrupt shifts of attention, The mind may interact with rhythms of the clock, or the rhythms of music […] (Taylor, Hardy’s Metres, 7)

Usually, in Hardy, a poem’s constitutive divisions in attitude are fundamentally a matter of sound and metre, as in ‘On Stinsford Hill at Midnight’. The poem, in ballad metre, is based on the midnight incident, recorded in a note of 4 February 1894, and described in Chapter Three, where Hardy was walking from Dorchester to Bockhampton, where he came across a salvation army girl ‘almost in white on the top of Stinsford Hill, beating a tambourine and dancing’, and resembling one of the ‘angelic quire’ fallen from the sky. ‘I could hardly believe my eyes’. He added, ‘Not a soul was there but her and myself’’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 262). The poem is worth briefly considering for the ways it typically translates into its metrical substance Hardy’s sense of the transfigurative power of music, its power to draw out and draw on, magnetically creating new configurations of desire. Typical too, though, is the unresolved tension, between the speaker’s ardent susceptibility and his dejected interiority, that gives this poem its Hardeyan subtlety, its effective sense of disjunctions within and outside the self. The girl is seemingly oblivious to the desire her music unleashes, and impervious to his calls, his wish for communion. As is characteristic of Hardy, the verse uses its own sonic features to enact both the sway of music, and the conflicts it produces: o B o B o B o B I called again: ‘Come nearer; much o B o B o B [ B] That kind of note I need!’ o B o b -oB -o- b The song kept softening, loudening on o b o B o B [ B] In placid calm unheed. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 597)

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74 | M USIC In the third line, his attempt at dialogue founders on her oblivious music-making. Metrically, the iambic pattern gives way there also to musical suggestiveness, as the more or less emphatic beats (b, B), and dactylic feet (‘soft en-ing, loud en-ing’) transmit the captivating effect, the diminuendos and fortissimos, of a waltz. In the last line, Hardy’s attitude modulates back to a contemplative sense of the woman’s enviable calm, an attitude at odds with his earlier calling, and agitated responsiveness. The final line (‘In placid calm unheed’) takes pause, its sense of an indefinitely prolonged meditative interval underscored by the calmative effect of the cadenced return to the iambic, and the low, echoic, pulse of an alliterative pedal point (‘so/ng, soften/ing louden/ing /on,// In […] unheed’). Similarly, as the poem ends, excitement and sensation pass again into an even more accentuated and pained, but composed, awareness of her heedlessness, ‘This world is dark, and where you are,’ I said, ‘I cannot be!’ But still the happy one sang on, And had no heed of me. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 597)

Like Wordsworth’s solitary reaper, the girl sings on indefinitely, regardless, her happiness and mind closed to the poem’s speaker, the song passing into the virtualities of memory and poetry. And to a degree, like Wordsworth’s speaker, the poet carries the song and this separateness within himself, as an enigmatic inspiration.17 However, the important difference (and one which shows how far the Romantic context is, as it were, internal to the poem), is how decisively the speaker ends up, not sustained by the girl’s song, but cast adrift by it. Its persistence in his memory is inseparable from this sense of how it left him bereft, and affectively exposed, in a circuit between hope and disappointment that the poem recapitulates, and that the speaker comes to reflect upon. Accordingly, it appears clearly as if motive of the poem is in deploying language to capture and enact the different, discontinuous, modes of consciousness and response that mark its drama – the unsynthesizing dialectic of a self caught between its appetite for joyful connection, and disconsolate rumination. Analysis of countless other poems on musical topics, would indicate how Hardy’s modernity involved a dynamic, disjunctive invocation of musical effects and tropes – poems such as ‘‘To My Father’s Violin’, or ‘Apostrophe to an Old Psalm Tune’. Biographically speaking, of course, musical pleasure was inseparable for Hardy from the complex inter-relations of class, community

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‘Music and Context’ | 75 and love. As a child, the songs he sang with Lady Julia Martin fomented the overwhelming, precocious, ardour he felt for her. As Claire Tomalin put it the feeling was ‘one he never forgot’ – perhaps because it was one, naturally enough, he could never act on (Tomalin, Thomas Hardy, 27). Indeed, it might be as accurate to say that the passion never forgot him, since it is plausible to detect the formative effects of such unresolved yearning in the patterns of the early fiction, where the courses of romance, time and again abetted by musical incidents, breach the class barrier for Will Strong/Egbert Mayne, Gabriel Oak, Dick Dewy, and others. And, if the names of these early characters suggest a compensatory fantasy of masculine control, so also it is arguable that the dominant motif throughout Hardy’s fictional career is the staging of love through a male infatuation of an essentially passive kind, predicated on social distance, and the woman’s discombobulating superiority and elusiveness. 18 This description suggests too, perhaps, how far Hardy’s fiction depends also on the physical and the accidental – on chance encounters and susceptibilities in which cognitive identity gives way to passages of feeling and correspondence that function outside of social protocols. In the short fiction, music often has a catalytic power, transforming the characters and their relationships before they are, often tragically, given over to their social fate. In ‘The History of the Hardcomes’ the musical abandon of a dance leads to the fatal exchange of partners, leading Stephen and Olive to part from each other before – temporarily re-united – they are drowned in a pleasure boat, having set off from the shore to the sounds of a band from the shore. In ‘The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion’, the gentle hussar’s tragedy, and his homesickness, desertion and eventual execution, it might be argued, were precipitated out of the ‘broken songs of the fatherland’ that the narrator fancies hearing at the long-abandoned soldier’s camp (Hardy, Collected Stories, Vol. 1, 40). In ‘The Waiting Supper’ the squire’s daughter Christine and the farmer’s nephew Nicolas were kept in agonizing proximity, first by a failed marriage service, and then through ensuing years by her subsequent marriage to a husband who, unbeknown to them, had been lying drowned and undiscovered under the nearby waterfall. These ironic conflicts of society, desire, and time were condensed musically earlier in the story, as Christine found herself dancing with Nicolas to ‘The Honeymoon’, reprising her feeling for Nicolas, while the courtship of her socially more suitable husband was beginning to exert its influence: The excitement of the movement carried Christine back to the time – the unreflecting passionate time, about two years before – when she

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76 | M USIC and Nic had been incipient lovers only; and it made her forget the carking anxieties, the vision of social breakers ahead that had begun to take the gilding off her position now. (Hardy, Collected Stories, Vol. 2, 228)

It is the way in these stories that the plot ironically recoils upon desire, but music often provides the occasions of imaginative responsiveness out of which such desire develops, and that provide Hardy with his pretext. Unsurprisingly perhaps, as Joan Grundy was one of the first to point out, Hardy accordingly often depends on musical metaphors or traits in describing this affective individuality in his characters: Christopher shakes ‘like a harp-string’ in The Hand of Ethelberta,19 Farfrae’s personal attractions are linked to his fascinating possession of the ‘hyperborean crispness, stringency, charm of a wellbraced musical instrument’.20 Again, the Cytherea who looks up at Manston ‘with parted lips at his face’ after his extemporizations on the Pastoral Symphony during the storm – betrays a passionate reactiveness to music that she shares with almost every sympathetic character in Hardy’s writing, male and female.21 Indeed, in what we might plausibly surmise as something like the original version of this scene – reworked in ‘An Indiscretion in the Life of the Heiress’ – it is the male figure, Egbert, who is enraptured. This time the music is the less pantheistic Handel’s Messiah, but again Hardy’s writing sympathetically threatens to burst its banks, The varying strains shook and bent him to themselves as a rippling brook shades and bends a shadow. The music did not show its power by attracting his attention to its subject; it rather dropped its own libretto and took up in place of that the poem of his life and love.22

The sentences dilate – doubling verbs and improvising figurative and rhythmical enactments approximating to the individuating, entrancing power of music. As romance in the tales I have mentioned was precipitated out of musical scenes, so also in that famous scene from Desperate Remedies, Cytherea’s involuntary attraction to Manston, and his all-too-voluntary encouraging of it, can be said to be not so much accompanied by music, as developed by it, even as her enduring feeling for Edward took place as music began on the boat deck. Comparably, the Mellstock Choir’s singing helps transfix Dick as he gazes at Fancy in Under the Greenwood Tree. Again, Stephen’s passion for Elfride foments by the piano in A Pair of Blue Eyes, while in A Laodicean, Somerset, ‘an instrument of no narrow gamut’, follows the sounds of his favourite

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‘Music and Context’ | 77 psalm to see Paula at the baptism, and is attracted by the way her disclosure of irresolution chimes with his own self-uncertainty.23 Towards the beginning of The Hand of Ethelberta, Christopher and Ethelberta’s feelings are kindled as they exchange glances, while he plays at the dance, so that ‘he felt something going out of him which had gone out of him once before’ (Hardy, The Hand of Ethelberta, 64). Further examples of this would be the way in which ElizabethJane is drawn to Farfrae by his singing in The Mayor of Casterbridge, or how Bathsheba’s final realization of her feeling for Oak is cultivated out of her awareness that ‘most unconcerned manner’ his singing appears to express his independence of her (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 415). Nonetheless, in the fiction, of course, the ratios between the transports of musical susceptibility and the constraints of society and cognition increasingly took ironic, satiric, and tragic forms. Tess may have attracted Angel in that musical moment when she talked of the soul going out of the body discussed in Chapter 1, but the problem in Tess is that the body and conscious mind have, socially speaking, nowhere to go. The plot reveals Angel as a dreamer with a harp, unable to move outside the precincts of his class identity, a free-thinker becoming the implacable, if unconscious, instrument of social precept. Pierston in The Well-Beloved is similarly a sardonic and knowing figure, as well as the vehicle for Hardy to satirize – both pitilessly and pitifully – the romantic readiness of earlier characters. In this novel, desire and knowledge are all too aware of each other, unhappily cohabiting, and rubbing each other up the wrong way, revealing love as a tiresomely automatic projection. The belated, tantalizing, and exhausted sense of music in this most mechanistic and repetitive of plots, indicates the affective values of the book for Pierston who is ‘vexed from his soul’ by the ‘migratory, elusive idealization he called his Love’ that through he life had ‘flitted from human shell to human shell an indefinite number of times’ (Hardy, The Well-Beloved, 16), and which is associated in the book with the tormenting musical allure of the family voice, incarnated in the various Avices. In Jude, the degradation of music within the text reflects the central character’s consciousness as a proxy for the narrator’s excoriating ironic cosmology and politics. Music provides an index throughout the book for the way Jude experiences over again the evisceration of his hopes within a class system arranged to extinguish the various forms of self-expression – musical, romantic, scholarly, spiritual, and political – to which he poignantly aspires. Jude dies between worlds, classes, and between times. Itinerant, he is no longer an inhabitant of rural society whose folk songs and culture are, as Jackson-Houlston

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78 | M USIC noted, for the first time in a Hardy novel nowhere referenced (JacksonHoulston, Ballads, Songs and Snatches: 166). As he says to Sue after his final suicidal walk to visit her, ‘the time was not ripe for us!’ (Hardy, Jude, 419) When eventually he dies, Hardy lets us know that his illness developed from a chill caught from working on the stonework of a music hall, where comic songs would have been purveyed of the kind that Hardy fiercely despised, and where the country songs he loved would have been denatured and debased into mass-produced and glib forms for the distracting amusement of the audiences.

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EM OT I O N

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CHAPTER

4

‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ Gilles Deleuze and Hardy the Novelist

In What is Philosophy? Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari referred to The Return of the Native: ‘[N]ot the perception of the moor in Hardy, but the moor as percept’.1 The aim of ‘a great novelist’, they wrote, is not to represent a world or a character but to invent and convey ‘unknown or unrecognized affects and brings them to light as the becoming of his characters’ (Deleuze and Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 174). Throughout the novel Eustacia inhabits the heath as its transformative milieu, perpetually departing from herself and forgetting her place, her truant desire waiting on its occasions. In Dialogues II, Deleuze refers to the novel’s heath world, while describing Thomas Hardy as a novelist who possessed a ‘strange respect for the individual’, his characters existing not as ‘people or subjects’, but experimentally, as ‘collections of intensive sensations’ (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 30). One can think of our first sighting of the unnamed Eustacia, in Chapter 6. Mysterious, intent, and solitary amidst the gathering nocturnal darkness of the windblown heath, she is a figure of passionate readiness, less an identifiable person than an obscure respondent, or ‘a bloc of variable sensations’ (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 30): Her reason for standing so still as the pivot of this circle of heathcountry was just as obscure […] It might reasonably have been supposed that she was listening to the wind, which rose somewhat as the night advanced, and laid hold of the attention.2

And the narrator’s own dislocated inspiration is discernible above in his vigilant stance. He waits on her, transfixed and ruminative, while everything hangs in the balance in this crepuscular world suffused by the untimely, the virtual, the eventual.

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82 | E MOTION In such respects, Hardy for Deleuze is one of the earliest of those modern, Anglo-American writers who open the novel to an empiricist and paratactic practice of the unrecognizable, through displacement and rupture: In them everything is departure, becoming, passage, leap, daemon, relationship with the outside. (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 27)

This chapter primarily explores different interconnecting aspects of Deleuze’s insight that Hardy’s writing is identifiable with individuation and empiricist experimentation. The generative values of Hardy’s fiction perpetually unfold the lives of his characters according to a volatile power of expressive self-difference at odds with the centripetal logic of subjectivity. In Hardy there is the perpetual sense that the self – for narrator, reader, and the character – is coming off its hinges, as the writing turns on its singular, unforeseen encounters, on adventures of passion and sensation. Further, from the first, Hardy’s narrative is crucially open to the intermissions of a ‘becoming-woman’ that Deleuze and Guattari associate with ‘English novel writing’, and as having ‘spared no man’: their words produce ‘atoms of womanhood capable of crossing and impregnating an entire social field, and of contaminating men, of sweeping them up in that becoming’.3 So (like so many of Hardy’s heroines) Eustacia – the arriviste in the society of the heath – is outwardly associated with the incursions of the modern world. Inwardly though, she simultaneously transmits this irruptive ‘becoming-woman’ that is always operative as a deterritorializing principle of Hardy’s narration, and a fundamental component of its modernity. The discussion that follows also tracks how influential were these experimental features of Hardy’s writing for later modernists. D. H. Lawrence’s career was in important respects a reaction to his perception of how ‘even the apparently wishy-washy heroines of Hardy’s earlier books’ have ‘a real, vital, potential self’: and this self suddenly bursts the shell of manner and convention and commonplace opinion, and acts independently, absurdly, without mental knowledge or acquiescence. And from such an outburst the tragedy usually develops.4

Hence too the repeated pattern in Hardy’s novels, as their worlds become disrupted by a socially transgressive male infatuation with a woman, often an interloper, who refuses to be fixed, and who embodies a perplexing, often tragic, power of self-difference.

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 83 Perpetually, these women bear out Deleuze’s claim that ‘[i]ndividuality is not a characteristic of the Self, but on the contrary, forms and sustains the system of the dissolved self’.5 So, in Desperate Remedies, the heroine Cytherea – the first of those ‘apparently wishy-washy heroines’ – is continually drawing the novel into a ‘becoming-woman’ out of which such individuation occurs. One thinks of the extraordinarily unfettered, if incipient, lesbian tenderness and eroticism of the nighttime scene between Cytherea and Miss Aldclyffe; or the virtuoso scene where Aeneas Manston improvises on his organ for her while the chaotic storm outside amplifies the poetry and passion of the scene: The varying strains – now loud, now soft; simple, complicated, weird, touching grand, boisterous, subdued; each phrase distinct, yet modulating into the next with a graceful and easy flow – shook and bent her to themselves, as a gushing brook shakes and bends a shadow cast across its surface. The power of the music did not show itself so much by attracting her attention to the subject of the piece, as by taking up and developing as its libretto the poem of her life and soul, shifting her deeds and intentions from the judgement and holding them in its own. She was swayed into emotional opinions concerning the strange man before her; new impulses of thought came with new harmonies, and entered into her with a gnawing thrill. A dreadful flash of lightening then, and the thunder close upon it. She found herself involuntarily shrinking up beside him, and looking with parted lips at his face. He turned his eyes and saw her emotion, which greatly increased the ideal element in her expressive face. She was in that state in which woman’s instinct to conceal has lost its power over its impulse to tell […] (Hardy, Desperate Remedies 155)

‘Becoming-woman’ is evident here not as a passion that emanates from Cytherea but as an affect that transcends her, prising open the subjectivity of narrator and reader as well as her own.6 Everything is self-forgetful response in this musical storm: the syntax divides and dilates, its rhythmical modulations and braidings conveying how musical extemporization has become the means of a transpersonal becoming that irresistibly summons Cytherea and reveals ‘involuntarily’ the ‘ideal element’ in her ‘expressive face’. The passage reveals the kind of quasi-musical, dynamic compounding of masculinity and femininity that Lawrence identified in his study of Hardy: ‘Ever there is more and more vibration, movement, and less and less stability, centralization’ (Lawrence, Study of Thomas Hardy, 67). These words

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84 | E MOTION also bring to mind Deleuze and Guattari’s words on the refrain: ‘there is no form or correct structure imposed from without or above but rather an articulation from within, as if oscillating molecules, oscillators, passed from one heterogeneous center to another’ (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 328). In comparable terms, other modernist novelists like Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and John Cowper Powys acknowledged Hardy as their great precursor. Woolf, like Lawrence, wrote at length of the affects that Hardy inspired in her, suggesting how far her own becoming as a writer was precipitated out of her encounter with his texts. And for both authors, it was some notion of individuation, as a mysterious resource traversing Hardy’s conscious designs, that was key. Hence Woolf suggests that there was always in his texts an awareness that was more than conscious and that produced ‘a little blur of consciousness, that halo and freshness of the unexpressed’ (Woolf, ‘The Novels of Thomas Hardy’, 248). These intimations of vitality and virtuality are identifiable both with the reader’s pleasure, and with the affective dynamism of the characters: ‘Even if it were in their power to analyse their emotions, life is too stirring to give them time.’ (Woolf, ‘The Novels of Thomas Hardy’, 252) In a similar vein, Lawrence wrote in a letter that the impetus of his long Study of Thomas Hardy was to pursue the catalytic power of Hardy’s capacity to register the human in terms of non-human powers of life: ‘that which is physic – non-human, in humanity, is more interesting to me than the old-fashioned human element’.7 Lawrence’s study of Hardy is a meditation on this, as well as an evocation of the unaccountable, unbidden futurity of Hardy’s world, its seemingly involuntary power to open itself to yet unseen forces. In Hardy, Lawrence would write in the Study, almost ‘nowhere […] is there the slightest development of personal action in the characters: it is all explosive’ (Lawrence, Study of Thomas Hardy, 20). For Woolf, similarly, what distinguishes Hardy is that he ‘can create characters but cannot control them.’ They exhibit a combination of emergence and emergency: of ‘passions’ that transport them, and ‘sudden’ and ‘overwhelming catastrophes that overtake them’ (Woolf, ‘Thomas Hardy’s Novels’, 246–47). Hardy himself too, is an ‘unconscious’ writer, who is ‘not quite aware’ of what he does, whose gifts ‘do not consent to run together easily in harness’ and who is perpetually ‘taken by surprise’, appearing ‘suddenly and without [his] own consent to be lifted up and swept onwards’: His own word, “moments of vision” exactly describes those passages of astonishing beauty and force which are to be found in every book

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 85 that he wrote. With a sudden quickening of power which we cannot foretell, nor he, it seems, control, a single scene breaks off from the rest. (Woolf, ‘Thomas Hardy’s Novels’, 247–48)

Further, to talk of Hardy’s modernity in terms of these operative ratios of disconnection and emergence is clearly to talk of his style, and the dissociative praxis by which his writing perpetually dislocates conventional Victorian novelistic forms of expression and content, and the fictive, abstract, armature of normative subjectivity. For Proust’s Marcel (in the passage that ends this section), Hardy’s style (so often denigrated as cumbersome and uneven) reveals the ideal commonalty or essence of a medium in which contingency and the empirical are at once accommodated and transcended. Deleuze explicates in Proustian fashion its philosophical, individuating aspects: For example, in Thomas Hardy, the blocks of stone, the geometry of these blocks, and the parallelism of their lines forms a spiritualized substance from which these words themselves derive their arrangement […] Art is a veritable transmutation of substance. By it, substance is spiritualized and physical surroundings dematerialized in order to refract essence, that is, the quality of an original world. This treatment of substance is indissociable from ‘style’.8

Hardy refracts and transmutes what is obdurately separate in lived experience into the spiritual arrangements, the inclusive disjunctions, of a unique style, unfolding a wholly original universe through art. Deleuze describes this manifestation of the Hardeyan essence ‘[a]s the quality of a world [where] essence is never to be confused with an object but on the contrary brings together two quite different objects, concerning which we in fact perceive that they have this quality in the revealing medium’ (Deleuze, Proust and Signs, 31). In The WellBeloved, the most Proustian of Hardy’s novels, this unity in disjunction takes the lived form of wrenching irony, as sculptor Jocelyn Pierston explicitly and involuntarily pursues what he comes to acknowledge as the same ideal essence of woman through three separate incarnations, across three generations of the same family. For Marcel, this pattern of desire is an epitome of the Hardeyan essence: […] I explained to Albertine that the great men of letters have never created more than a single work, or rather have never done more than refract through various media an identical beauty which they bring into the world […] I returned to Thomas Hardy. “Do you remember the stonemasons in Jude the Obscure, and in The Well-Beloved the

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86 | E MOTION blocks of stone which the father hews out of the island coming in boats to be piled up in the son’s work-shop where they are turned into statues; and in A Pair of Blue Eyes the parallelism of the tombs, and also the parallel line of the boat and the nearby railway coaches containing the lovers and the dead woman; and the parallel between The Well-Beloved, where the man loves three women, and A Pair of Blue Eyes, where the woman loves three men, and in short all those novels which can be superimposed on one another like the houses piled up vertically on the rocky soil of the island.9

I Hardy described Tess Durbeyfield, in a Deleuzian-sounding phrase, as a ‘sheaf of susceptibilities’, and nothing distinguishes the novelist’s writing more than its pervading sense of a decentred world in which the personal and human are held in abeyance, while the mind, sprung open, discovers itself through the micro-logic of its disjoined encounters of sensation, impression, and affect; and through the incidental, contemplative recoil of its articulations. Woolf quotes a phrase from Under the Greenwood Tree that conveys this sense of the mind’s physical condition in Hardy, a typical example of how his prose raises to expression a passing and subliminal impression. Her implication is that no other author could have written it: And yet what kindly lover of antiquity, what naturalist with a microscope in his pocket, what scholar solicitous for the changing shapes of language, ever heard the cry of a small bird killed in the next wood by an owl with such intensity? The cry ‘passed into the silence without mingling with it’. (Woolf, Thomas Hardy’s Novels, 246–47)

This description of a cry passing into silence without mingling with it can also be taken as an index of a sensibility for which everything stands apart (or in parallel perhaps, in Marcel’s terms), according to an empiricist conception of external relations.10 Equally, empiricism is inscribed in the paratactic dimensions of Hardy’s style, in sentences that are dynamically discovering themselves in what they uncover, whether for good or ill, and forgetful of conventional notions of good composition. Affectively, this excursive dynamism is evident in the ways the narrative is itself a vehicle for involuntary responses and affects. As Lawrence and Woolf suggest, the self in Hardy is always breaking with precedent, forging new sympathetic connections. Early in A Loadicean

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 87 the hero George Somerset observes Paula Power (daughter of her industrialist father) refusing baptism. He is drawn to her by an unconscious affective divination that passes as a fluctuating relay of feeling, sensation, and observation between narrator, reader and character. She approached the edge, looked into the water, and turned away shaking her head. Somerset could for the first time see her face. Though humanly imperfect, as is every face we see, it was one which made him think that the best in woman-kind no less than the best in psalm-tunes had gone over to the Dissenters. He had certainly seen nobody so interesting in his tour hitherto; she was about twenty or twenty-one – perhaps twenty-three, for years have a way of stealing marches even upon beauty’s anointed. The total dissimilarity between the expression of her lineaments and that of the countenances around her was not a little surprising, and was productive of hypotheses without measure as to how she came there. She was, in fact, emphatically a modern type of maidenhood, and she looked ultra-modern by reason of her environment: a presumably sophisticated being among the simple ones – not wickedly so, but one who knew life fairly well for her age. (Hardy, A Laodicean, 15)

Intelligence is identified here with the refusal of imposed clichés, and with a ruminative exactitude that embraces inconclusiveness. George and the narrator take Paula as a problem, and muse on ‘how she came there’, and George is interested and attracted to her, as she turns from self-dedication, because he finds his own uncertainties and wilful autonomy, as well as his openness to modernity, echoed in her own as it occasions his ‘sudden intuitive sympathy’ (Hardy, A Laodicean, 16). Like Eustacia, Paula is the wild card in the novel’s deck, intriguing, obscure, and unpredictable. Like Elfride in A Pair of Blue Eyes, too, which so mesmerized Proust, each woman incarnates ‘a world that excludes’ those she intrigues (Deleuze, Proust and Signs, 6). She stands outside Hardy’s awareness of her, the presiding spirit of her novel. She conducts a contagious power of self-difference through such scenes, and releases what Deleuze and Guattari would term the non-personal, deterritorializing fluxes of passion and becoming that course through the text: Tales must contain haecceties that are not simply emplacements, but concrete individuations that have a status of their own and direct the metamorphosis of things and subjects. (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 261)

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88 | E MOTION If Deleuze uses the word ‘strange’ for Hardy’s expression of individuality it is perhaps in part because the narrator appears in this way himself as unconsciously and involuntarily under the sway of this individuality – as beside and estranged from himself – as are his characters themselves. However, the experimental aspect of each novel also corresponds to the dissimilarities and singularity of each woman. So in A Laodicean, the writing opens itself to the incursions of a destabilizing modernity associated with Paula’s independence from her society. In The Return of the Native, though, it is Eustacia’s erotic susceptibility that initiates the action, continually leading her to forget herself and her position. The empirical and experimental aspects of Hardy’s writing, then, are a matter of novelistic sensibility, as Hardy traces such convulsive intervals and metamorphoses with an attention that endlessly divides within itself, becoming a bristling open multiplicity. Within his style, the various faculties of mind – the erotic, the sympathetic, the visual, the philosophic – are mutually oblivious, yet equally engrossed. They stand alongside and succeed each other in the writing, according to the logic of separate and parallel co-existence that Marcel identified with Hardy’s universe. As such, the disjoined elements of mind might be given a philosophical description of a Deleuzian kind, identified with the discordant faculties of a post-Kantian consciousness. Equally though, they resemble the strange disjoined relay of watchers out in the open that repeats itself throughout his fiction: in the woods in The Woodlanders, on the heath in The Return of the Native, or at the close of Desperate Remedies or A Pair of Blue Eyes. Such scenes appear a characteristic signature of Hardy’s own individuality, imbued with reflexive intimation as they enact and dramatize the operations of a mind which functions as a sensitized and diversified register of what passes outside the centripetal functions of rational subjectivity. Deleuze’s comments on Hardy have important implications for considering the relations of such immanence and the larger construction of narrative. As Eustacia continually loses and finds herself amidst the obscurity of the heath, so the modernity of Hardy’s writing is a matter of its ‘heath-becoming’: ‘it is not that the heath is the subject or the content of the novel, but that a flux of modern writing combines with a flux of immemorial heath. A heath-becoming […]’ (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 38). Deleuze likens the individuations that take place on the heath to a game of chance: [Hardy] saw himself and saw others as so many ‘unique chances’ – the unique chance from which one combination or another had been drawn. Individuation without a subject. And these packets of sensa-

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 89 tion in the raw, these collections or combinations, run along the lines of chance, or mischance, where their encounters take place – if need be, their bad encounters which lead to death, to murder. Hardy invokes a sort of Greek destiny for this empiricist experimental world. Individuals, packets of sensations, run over the heath like a line of flight or a line of deterritorialization of the earth. (Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II, 30)

One thinks also of the dice-throwing that the reddleman Venn challenges Wildeve to on the heath, with selfless intentions, but fateful consequences. And from such chances, Hardy’s narrative draws its consequences, its lines of flight often tragically unsustainable and fatal. Lawrence came to similar conclusions, figuring the heath as the locus of ‘primitive, primal earth, where the instinctive life heaves up’, and as ‘the deep, black source’, indifferent to ‘the purpose of man’ from ‘whence all these little contents of lives are drawn’ (Lawrence, Study of Thomas Hardy, 172–73). So, in chapter 3 of Book Four Eustacia dances with former lover, Damon Wildeve on the heath. Though both are now married, their former illicit passion is headily reignited: Thus, for different reasons, what was to the rest an exhilarating movement was to these two a riding upon the whirlwind. The dance had come like an irresistible attack upon whatever sense of social order there was in their minds. (Hardy, The Return of the Native, 284)

Eustacia’s story shapes itself ultimately as tragic because her desire is unsustainable within the social world of the novel, and collapses into mere fantasies of escape and transcendence. The infinite materiality of the heath endlessly solicits her passion and excursive self-expression, but it also fatally resists her, since her ecstatic meetings with Clym or Wildeve cannot be translated into lived experience. So, she falls back into what Deleuze and Guattari might identify as the black hole of her subjectivity, disastrously reterritorializing her passion, and misconstruing it in romantic dreams of Paris and Budmouth. By a characteristically Hardeyan irony, these lead to her eventual death as she drowns mysteriously in Shadwater weir at night, in the chapter ominously entitled ‘Sights and Sounds Draw the Wanderers Together’. A comparison would be with the world of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, where the prolonged idyll of Tess and Angel’s romance ultimately discovers that it has no place in the social world of the novel. But again, the affective and tonal world of the novel is so different. Consider, for instance, the contrast between the dancing scene on the heath, and the

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90 | E MOTION comparable one where we first see Tess at the dance on the green. Like Marcel’s Albertine on the sea-front at Balbec, she emerges from a ‘band’ of girls, here ‘dressed in white gowns’: A young member of the band turned her head at the exclamation. She was a fine and handsome girl – not handsomer than some others, possibly – but her mobile peony mouth and large innocent eyes added eloquence to colour and shape. She wore a red ribbon in her hair, and was the only one of the white company who could boast of such a pronounced adornment.11

Tess’s ‘mobile peony mouth’ and eloquent eyes as she turns her head betray the unconscious susceptibility that will in turn betray her (since it will occasion the tragic, ironically divergent, passions of Angel and Alec: the one all romantic idealization, the other all violent, invasive desire). Tess is at the mercy of an ardour that occasions an intent yet watchful sympathy on the part of the narrator, yet that is utterly divergent from the imaginative relation to Eustacia, where the narrator is at a fascinated remove, always waiting on her capacity to reveal herself and conjure some new self-departure from a scene. In each case, though, the woman’s fate appears obscurely implicit as a capacity for relation: for Tess, the ‘pure woman’, it is a function of the designs she cannot help but inspire in others, while for Eustacia, it is a function of the desires others will inspire in her, and of her desire to be desired. In such ways, Hardy’s novels differ from each other, and one might consider how other dance scenes in other books similarly reveal the qualitative, stylistic and affective differences, and the painful discordances internal to a novel’s world: the incongruous pastoral comedy of the scene in Under the Greenwood Tree, where Fancy Day and Dick Dewy dance; the bizarre social comedy of the two distinct social worlds dancing a floor apart in The Hand of Ethelberta; the tragic, mortifying humiliations of the dances organized by Michael Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge or by Giles Winterborne in The Woodlanders . . . Or again, one might examine how Hardy’s books unfold differently from their first page, from those celebrated opening scenes that are characteristically quotidian, yet imbued with a sense of the virtual. Commonly, the narrator suspends identification, alert to the intimations of place, detail, gesture, while there is a sense of imminence and immanence, of everything hanging in the balance, of a narrative in the becoming . . . For Hardy’s narrator, as much as the reader, the effect is of everything held in potentia and yet to shape itself. The scenes reverberate with an ominous eloquence yet to be construed: a man and his wife walk in combustible, sullen silence

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 91 along a dusty road; a schoolmaster leaves the village, in a scene invested with uncertainty and deracination; an elderly man with a stick stands on a now deserted, forlorn woodland highway on a winter evening; a young urban sculptor climbs a steep peninsula road to a lonely island, dazzling and white in the midday sun . . . In such ways, Hardy construes mind as a dynamic power of individuation, expressed through adventures of sympathy and sensation, rather than through any logically inalienable, rational core of mind and identity. His inspiration appears at the bidding of exteriorized, dislocated powers of observation and response, and at odds with rationality, custom, or novelistic precept. It creates experimental passages out of suspense and surprise, his modernity a function of this sensitivity that breaks into the recognizable, occupying an interval of obscurity and shaping consciousness and narrative from the middle of things. To take the model of individuation that Deleuze cites from Gilbert Simondon, it as if Hardy were observing the still indeterminate elements of a crystalline solution just prior to the effect of the seed crystal (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 408). Certainly, Hardy himself often described his referred to his own lack of premeditation as he waited on the individuality of his characters to announce itself, as in comments relayed by publisher Richard Bowker: But soon the characters take possession of him and of the story […] for his reason he never plots the final development, the latter half, of a novel, but lets the dramatis personae finish it for themselves and literally work out their own salvation or the contrary.12

In a similar vein, even at the end of his career he could remark about the plot of Jude – in a letter to Edmund Gosse of 10 November 1895 – that ‘I ought not to say constructed, for, beyond a certain point, the characters necessitated it, & I simply let it come’.13 (Such aspects of Hardy’s novelistic inspiration, surrendering to the externality of his characters and their searches for self-expression, will be central to the following chapter.)

II Hardy’s first novel, The Poor Man and The Lady, written between 1867 and the following year, was turned down by publisher Alexander Macmillan on the basis that its unbridled, ardent radicalism, and socially subversive romance, ‘meant mischief’. Hardy himself later

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92 | E MOTION confessed the book’s intent to be ‘socialistic, not to say revolutionary’.14 The manuscript doesn’t survive, but it was followed by Desperate Remedies – a much-neglected novel designed to conform to the highly marketable ‘sensation’ genre. However, Desperate Remedies was arguably no less subversive, since Hardy’s wayward, insurgent, and physically conditioned imagination continually eclipses his more conscious designs, and overturns nineteenth-century novelistic notions of subjectivity and good form. John Bayley identified a constitutive kind of ‘instability’ in Hardy’s texts from the first, and Desperate Remedies is certainly one of the most unstable of all (Bayley, Essay on Hardy, 12). It is also the first of what are often categorized as the ‘minor’ novels: those often astonishingly speculative or eccentric texts which have long confounded Hardy’s critics because so unmindful of the responsibilities of nineteenth-century realism – texts like A Pair of Blue Eyes, The Hand of Ethelberta, A Laodicean, Two on a Tower, The Trumpet-Major, or The Well-Beloved. Critics have reacted by neglecting this minor tradition within Hardy’s own corpus, and Hardy himself recognized the tension, categorizing the ‘major novels’ under the heading ‘Novels of Character and Environment’ (a title which aspires to objectivity), and somewhat apologetically side-lining the others as ‘Romances and Fantasies’ or ‘Novels of Ingenuity’. Certainly, within the minor novels, the plot machinery nearly always appears an incongruous imposition: as in the outlandish, preposterous, and improvised plotting of Desperate Remedies or A Laodicean, or in the grotesque and rigidifying ironies of The Hand of Ethelberta or A Pair of Blue Eyes. Yet, in fact nowhere is the ‘strange’ logic of individuation and modernity more fully and variously manifested than in these ‘minor’ texts. They contain many of the most beautiful, unbridled, and compelling passages in Hardy’s work, the writing consumed by the fugitive affects and percepts of characters in flight from those constraining social principle and contexts that provide the often tragic determinants for plot and drama in the ‘major’ novels. Further, the critic’s avoidance of these texts betrays a deeper crux – that this minor experimental tradition is inextricably interwoven with the ‘major’ texts for which Hardy is celebrated. The two types of novel alternate throughout Hardy’s career, in a telling syncopation of forgetful inspiration and conscious ambition that replicates that constitutive divorce perpetually registered in the drama and texture of the writing itself – between the centrifugal break-outs of desire and the centripetal returnings of ruminative, social or narrative consciousness. If Hardy provided later writers with an excursive sense of modernity and new directions, then, one can say it is because he is perpetually

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 93 escaping from himself in these ways: both within texts and between them. As this implies, subjectivity within Hardy’s texts, as a social or philosophical fiction of identity, is always belated, and throughout his career his novels can be seen to produce reflexive self-awareness as a passing effect, rather than as a controlling, prior instance. Such moments appear all the more powerful for the narrator himself because they appear to emerge involuntarily from the texture of the writing itself, as figurative potentials of self-contemplation secreted through the texts, and hovering over them. Nothing perhaps better justifies Deleuze’s word ‘strange’ for Hardy’s fictional practice than this trait, whereby a scene will appear imbued with a reflexive eloquence beyond the consciousness of the narrator. In Desperate Remedies, for instance, we can note how the instability to which Bayley referred threatens from the first to become a fatal kind of imbalance. Cytherea is introduced to us in terms of her capacity for motion and balance, in syntax that itself betrays its own capacity for modulation, rhythmic adjustment, and ‘motion within motion’: Indeed, motion was her specialty, whether shown on its most extended scale of bodily progression, or minutely, as in the uplifting of her eyelids, the bending of her fingers, the pouting of her lip. The carriage of her head – motion within motion – a glide upon a glide – was as delicate as that of a magnetic needle. And this flexibility and elasticity had never been taught her by rule, nor even been acquired by observation, but, nullo cultu, had naturally developed itself with her years. In childhood, a stone or stalk in the way, which had been the inevitable occasion of a fall to her playmates, had usually left her safe and upright on her feet after the narrowest escape by oscillations and whirls for the preservation of her balance. (Hardy, Desperate Remedies, 7)

In the scene that follows, Cytherea listens to a mediocre reading of Shakespeare in a provincial town hall while observing her architect father through a window, as he topples and falls to his death from scaffolding. An audacious scene, it also condenses itself as an allegory of the principles of Hardy’s writing: it is at once endlessly animated, agile, and open in its immersive and mobile moments of ‘becoming-woman’, yet equally at the same time liable to falling flat, and to bathos or disaster in its neglect of the masculine business of construction. At the same time, one could identify such reflexive moments as a certain kind of ‘becoming-philosophy’ in the work: of emergent self-contemplation generated through material means.

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94 | E MOTION However, in terms of the seeming collapse or neglect of narrative architecture, Hardy’s novels are often denigrated for their crudities, unevenness, and bathos, and these seem inevitable accompaniments to a writing so dependent on its intermissive inspiration – on what Woolf referred to as his fictional ‘moments of vision’. Like Cytherea, Hardy’s narrator can often seem so engrossed in literary imaginings or distracted by stray phenomena that he is heedless to the scaffolding of his text. Certainly, when the impetus of individuation is absent, a text can threaten to drift or stutter, to take pause, to circle, to mark time, or otherwise hang in the balance: one thinks of the repeated scenes in Two on a Tower where Lady Constantine listlessly approaches the tower before she eventually meets her youthful lover; those bizarrely repeated episodes in Jude the Obscure where Jude again confronts Sue framed by a window. Or, one could think of the often grimly overdetermined nature of the novels’ endings. In the minor texts the climaxes of the novels appear particularly perfunctory and dismissive: as when Elfride dies at the end of A Pair of Blue Eyes; or when the castle burns down at the end of A Laodicean; or when Ethelberta marries Lord Mountclere at the end of The Hand of Ethelberta; or when Lady Constantine dies at the end of Two on a Tower: ‘Viviette was dead. The Bishop was avenged’. 15 At such moments Hardy’s narrator appears less to tie up his text than to tear it up and throw it away, and to signal through the death of the character that the conventions of Victorian fiction are now a cruel imposition, as if the plot were an empty shell for a life that has departed. As Hardy’s career presses to a close though, his modernist qualities of critique and displacement become the expressive focus of the texts themselves, most unrelentingly and self-excoriatingly in Jude the Obscure or The Well-Beloved. These texts starkly bear out the dictum that ‘[t]here is no difference between what a book talks about and how it is made’ (Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 4). The alienation of character and narrator become wound round each other, as Jude Fawley and Jocelyn Pierston live out Hardy’s determining, brooding consciousness of a social context where desire is fatally mismatched with convention and circumstance. Events repetitively satirize desire, and experience is structured as a circuit of disappointment. The plots hollow themselves out from within, audaciously piling improbability upon improbability, and shattering the recognizable world of nineteenth-century fiction. Tess’s ‘ache of modernism’ becomes an agony in Jude, the tale of a working-class orphan boy aspiring to live out all the ameliorating syntheses encoded in nineteenth-century fiction, but finding only that his dreams of University and marriage, or of love outside of marriage, are brutally trampled

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 95 down within the novel’s indifferent world (Hardy, Tess, 120). Jude’s obscurity is a function of his experience of modernity as endless, reiterated displacement within the still-Victorian world of the novel. However, obscurity is also the narrator’s predicament as a novelist at the close of the nineteenth century, inhabiting an impossible interval between times, and able to anticipate modernity only through the untimely repetitions of a Nietzschean ‘active destruction’ that opens the present to the invisible forces of the future.16 Jude is a novel full of reflexive intimations of these complexities, adopting a radical, vertiginous irony as the means of interrogating and displacing conventional novelistic structures of identity. One example is the episode in which Jude, after the breakdown of his first marriage to Arabella discovers in a broker’s shop a framed photograph of himself that he had given to her on his wedding-day: The utter death of every tender sentiment in his wife, as brought home to him by this mute and undesigned evidence of her sale of his portrait and gift, was the conclusive little stroke required to demolish all sentiment in him. He paid the shilling, took the photograph away with him, and burnt it, frame and all, when he reached his lodging. (Hardy, Jude, 93)

The incident (itself narratively redundant and interpolated at the end of a chapter) is one of an eviscerating repetition of disillusion, as Jude finds himself bitterly confronting his superseded self-representation. Further, the language also enacts its parallel, reflexive, destructive of its own representative schemas. So the endlessly tautological, otiose elaborations of the first sentence (‘utter death . . . tender sentiment . . . mute and undersigned . . . portrait and gift . . . conclusive . . . demolish’) mime and hollow-out the evaluative syntax and lexis of Victorian narrative, before this sentence is itself discarded ‘frame and all’ in the brutally reductive statement of the second sentence that then renders it wholly superfluous (‘He paid the shilling, took the photograph away with him, and burnt it, frame and all, when he reached his lodging’ . . . ) In such a way, the passage like many others, reflexively emblematizes, through its use of the mise-en-abyme, a novel coming apart at the seams, and obscurely signalling to its own performative destruction of normative novelistic resolutions of identity and marriage, ‘frame and all’. And as Jude presses to its close, the novel twists parody around tragedy in an intensifying spiral that leaves the reader in a peculiarly unsettled position, caught up by Jude’s fate in a novel that itself can be said to be no longer recognizable, since its breach with previous modes

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96 | E MOTION broaches only a sense that, as Jude says ‘the time was not ripe for us. Our ideas were fifty years too soon to be any good to us’ (Hardy, Jude, 422–23). After Jude Hardy will abandon novel-writing altogether, but one can equally say that Jude is the most abandoned of Hardy’s novels, or even that it is the book in which the novel as a form has abandoned him, leaving him like Jude in an untimely situation of radical obscurity and modernity, a refugee from a time to come. Certainly in manifold ways Jude bears out Deleuze’s remark that: ‘The conditions of a true critique and a true creation are the same: the destruction of an image of thought which presupposes the genesis of the act of thinking in thought itself’ (Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 139). Now, with increasing consciousness as he comes to abandon novel-writing altogether Hardy’s only recourse is to direct his texts explosively, and with brooding self-consciousness, against the stultifying clichés, the generic formulae, of novelistic good form. By the end of his career, with texts like Jude the Obscure and The Well-Beloved, the essentially experimental, proto-modernist principle in Hardy’s fiction manifests itself no longer as an unconscious principle of disjunction, but as a conscious principle of destruction. Fiction has left him nowhere to go, and his practice takes the form of a reflexive ironic repetition – endlessly philosophical in implication – that consumes the texts themselves, and their passing figurations of subjectivity.

III Hardy’s modernity, and his legacy to the writers who followed him, is identifiable with such an expressionist dimension of his fiction, as it experimentally overturns the norms of Victorian novelistic representation. In such respects, Hardy’s writing, I have been suggesting, can always be seen as innately philosophical, and it is worth emphasizing in this connection his parallel, lifelong interest in philosophical reading. In this connection, it is ironic that Hardy’s often-patronized auto-didacticism can blind critics to the authentic freedom, modernity, and independence of his own thinking, and to the values of individuation that are the focus of this discussion, and that make it possible to describe Hardy’s affinities with Deleuzian thought. As a kind of compound motto for this, there is a 1910 jotting in his self-ghosted biography, that usefully captures this sense of self-education, expression, reflection, and empiricism: ‘Let every man make a philosophy out of his own experience’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 310). In what follows, I briefly chart how Hardy used his philosophical reading to refine and verbalize that fascination – so prevalent in his artistic practice and style

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‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’ | 97 – with how thought and individuality are generated from immediate experience, sensation, and affectivity. Indeed, Hardy’s philosophical reading, as referenced in his notebooks, letters, or the Life, is a perpetual meditation on such questions, and is full of repeating themes, and anticipations of a transcendental empiricism. So, the most central, informing, and longstanding issue for Hardy can be said to be his interest in philosophical enquiries into the non-rational conditions of mind – affective, sentient, material, unconscious. In 1873 he transcribed in his notebook Comte’s dictum that ‘Thought depends on sensation’, (Hardy, Literary Notebooks, Vol. 1, 74), and he would have read John Stuart Mill’s essay ‘Theism’ in Essays on Religion, which was published in the same year, and which scoped a materialist and empiricist conception of the physical conditions of mind: The assertion is that physical nature must have been produced by a will because nothing but will is known to us as having the power of originating the production of phenomena . . . That nothing can consciously produce Mind but Mind, is self-evident, being involved in the meaning of the words; but that there cannot be unconscious production cannot be assumed.17

Again, Hardy’s lifelong passion for Mill’s writing about social progress, ethics, and individual expression was of a piece with a broad and abiding fascination with notions of evolution that can be traced back to his youthful immersion in the scientific or socio-economic thinking about becoming and evolution in Charles Darwin or Herbert Spencer, and that surfaced late in life in his appreciative response to Bergson’s Creative Evolution. Further study could demonstrate also more fully the continuity between this young man, for whom volition and consciousness are belated effects, or epiphenomena, of underlying unconscious forces, and the older one variously drawn or gripped by Bergson’s vitalism, Nietzsche’s ethics and aesthetics, James’s pragmatism, Schopenhauer’s pre-Freudian metaphysics of the unconscious, or Von Hartmann’s materialism. Nor is it possible here to do more than merely signal in indicative fashion to the continuities between Hardy’s interests, and Deleuzian ontology and thought. But Hardy’s notebooks are full of careful transcriptions that reveal his assiduous pursuit of an anti-rationalist metaphysics, and that explicate issues of the transcendental unconscious and individuation, as indicated here in extracts from (respectively) Von Hartmann’s Philosophy of the Unconscious and Schopenhauer’s Studies in Pessimism:

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98 | E MOTION All that is original and therefore all that is genuine in man, acts as such unconsciously, like the forces of Nature. What has passed through consciousness has thereby become a representation. Accordingly, all genuine and sterling qualities of the character and of the mind are originally unconscious, and only as such do they make a deep impression.18 Everything that is fundamental in man & therefore genuine, works, as such, unconsciously; in this respect like the power of Nature.19

Again, ideas of pluralism, becoming, and immanence recur time and again, at the levels of the universe itself, and in relation to the self, as in this 1885 note from an article by F. W. H. Myers in the Fortnightly Review: ‘The unity of an individual organism – “a unity aggregated from multiplicity” […} Does my consciousness testify that I am a single entity? This only means that a stable cænesthesia exists in me just now; a sufficient number of my nervous centres are acting in unison. (Björk, The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy, Vol.1, 74)

It is important also to emphasize how such cognate preoccupations are ultimately bound together too with Hardy’s conception of aesthetic experience, so that one notices oblique affinities, lateral connections, and resonances, as well as explicit, articulated links between his notes on Pater or Ruskin, for instance and these philosophical themes. Above all, it was style for Hardy, as for Deleuze or Proust, that was the central expressive means for individuation. Increasingly, in his own more mature, if piecemeal, formulations, art was repeatedly described as a revelation of an original sensibility through the making conscious of response: what you carry away with you from a scene is the true feature to grasp; on in other words, what appeals to your own individual eye and heart in particular amid much that does not so appeal, and which you therefore omit to record. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 184)

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CHAPTER

5

‘What I see in their faces’ Facial Inspiration in Hardy’s Fiction

Many acquaintances of Hardy commented on the vigilant qualities of his eyes, clearly evident still in portraits, sketches, and photographs. Virginia Woolf remarked, after meeting him at Max Gate in July 1926, on his ‘quizzical bright eyes, for in talk they grow bright’,1 and Ford Madox Ford wrote eloquently of how Hardy’s gaze betrayed a similar kindling of mind. At one of Edward Clodd’s house parties, Ford observed the ‘amazing powers of perception in his keen, limpid, liquid, poet-peasant’s eyes’, and went on suggestively to associate this visual alertness with an impulse for exuberant truancy. Hardy, he continued, was ‘as instinct with the feeling of escape as a schoolboy who had run out from his school ranks on some down and was determined on naughtiness’.2 Certainly, Hardy himself conveyed a mild guilt about his inability to stop himself stealing glances at the faces of others. He once confided to Rosamund Tomson as to this ‘literary habit’, ‘rather a terribly thing’, whereby ‘whenever I travel by train or omnibus, I find myself instinctively observing my fellow-passengers and constructing the story of their lives from what I see in their faces’.3 Most of what follows in this chapter is implied in these rather scattered comments. Above all, my focus is on the complex centrality of observation – of looking and being looked at – in Hardy’s fiction and imagination. Crucially, for Hardy himself, observation is a gift not simply for physical description, but for spiritual divination. People’s faces contain histories, novels and tales, though it takes a rare and peculiar susceptibility like his to discern in these ‘the story of their lives’. For example, on June 27 1879, Hardy saw two girls on a train, and the fastidious exactitude of his note suggests how meticulously and fixedly he scoured their features for narrative cues and clues: From Tooting to Town again. In railway carriage a too statuesque girl; but her features were absolutely perfect. She sat quite still, and her

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100 | E MOTION smiles did not extend further than a finger-nail’s breadth from the edge of her mouth. The repose of her face was such that when the train shook her it seemed painful. Her mouth was very small, and her face not unlike that of a nymph. In the train coming home there was a contrasting girl of sly humour – the pupil of her eye being mostly half under the eyelid. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 127)

Such everyday encounters offer an irresistible provocation to the oftnoted kind of erotic and romantic day-dreaming to which Hardy was prone. However, there is more to it than this, and one needs to emphasize how such accidental meetings also stimulate his distinctive kind of curiosity, and engage his artistic clairvoyance and sympathies in subtle, surprising, and mysterious ways. Here he appears to search among the stray details of each girl’s face for the key that will unlock and reveal the secret principles of her personality. In this way, a peremptory male desire enters into circulation with a more patient and watchful impulse, a wish to establish an empathic inwardness by which the unique inner life of the woman will constitute itself in his mind. In the process, Hardy’s artistic capacities and imperatives are drawn out by this spell-bound study of the outward, singular, and enigmatic traits of the face. In what follows, my aim is to explore this compound type of erotic, intuitive and visual inspiration in Hardy’s fiction, as a way of examining further, through this motif, the sensory and affective bases of his art and imagination. Close attention to his texts reveals the singular, and primary ways in which the initial promptings of Hardy’s narrative sense, and the individuality of his characters, are decisively conjured into being through what Tony Tanner called ‘the incomparable clarity of his eyes’.4 J. B. Bullen has recorded Hardy’s own admission as to the way in which: images in the form of mental ‘pictures’, actually preceded the formulation of ideas in language. He confessed to at least two of his biographers that ideas which were later clothed in verse or prose frequently presented themselves to him at first as pictures.5

Accordingly, the first part of the chapter centres on examining how much Hardy seems to follow his eyes as he develops his material. Often the specific dramas, and even the different formal and thematic configurations, of particular novels can be seen as implicit, latent, condensed, within the visual dynamics of key scenes. To provide a thread in what is necessarily a selective discussion, I have predominantly concentrated in this section on important early scenes

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 101 in various novels. These are scenes in which Hardy first observes the central figure whose personality and talent for entanglement will provide the motor for the drama of the text. ‘Character is fate’ for Tess or Eustacia, as for Jude or Henchard, but one could as easily say ‘character is face’ or even ‘face is fate’, in so far as it is often the face and eyes of the characters that appears to provide Hardy’s imagination with a privileged access to both their individuality, and the story that unfolds from it. In the second half of the chapter, I shall extend the discussion, beyond the narrator’s viewing of his characters, to focus on the nuances of dramatically crucial moments where the characters view each other: where they steal or exchange glances, feel themselves observed, and so on. There is something fateful, as instantaneous as a chemical reaction, when eyes fasten or meet in a Hardy scene, and Hardy’s writing is peculiarly adjusted not merely to tracing what goes on at such moments, but also in tracking the consequences that unfold from them. In A Pair of Blue Eyes we read of Elfride’s piano playing for Stephen: Then comes a rapid look into Stephen’s face, and a still more rapid look back again to her business, her face having dropped its sadness, and acquired a certain expression of mysterious archness the while.6

Out of the ping-pong of glances between Elfride and Stephen, her new look of ‘mysterious archness’ emerges, an expression that is both facial and spiritual, and that indicates how she will relate to Stephen. Hardy’s eye as a writer, of course, is inimitably attuned to such modulations and revelations of personality. My argument is that this chapter then offers a further case study for the idea that Hardy’s writing turns on physically produced moments of becoming, on those irruptive and unpredictable passages where altered aspects and qualities of the self emerge, as new relationships are precipitated out of the shared emotional turmoil of the characters. In this context, events of looking, and of eye contact, take on a real centrality and importance. Finally, my ultimate contention here, as throughout the book, is that Hardy’s novels in such fashion enact as well as dramatize Comte’s dictum, transcribed by Hardy into his notebook in 1873: ‘Thought depends upon sensation.’ (Hardy, Literary Notebooks, Vol. 1, 74) To put it another way, observation, and particularly the observation of another person, is a privileged form of selfrevelation, for Hardy himself as much as for Elfride and Stephen, since such looking entails response, and response entails an answering expression of oneself. When one looks, it seems, it is always also oneself

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102 | E MOTION that one comes to discover.7 It was an idea he was to reiterate many times in his notes, as in his celebrated comment about the Impressionists in December 1886 (cited at the end of the last chapter ): […] what you carry away from a scene is a true feature to grasp; or in other words, what appeals to your own individual eye and heart in particular amid much that does not so appeal, and which you therefore omit to record. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 184)

I In 1888, Richard Bowker, an American publisher, wrote an article entitled ‘Thomas Hardy: The Dorset Novelist’ for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. The piece focuses in intriguing ways on Hardy’s creative processes and working habits, and draws on information, as James Gibson pointed out, that was largely supplied by Hardy’s own notes. Of particular interest here are the moments in which we read about the apparently separate and prior existence of Hardy’s characters in his mind: His characters, in fact, do become entirely real to him, though for a long time he finds difficulty in making acquaintance with them, and particularly in calling them by name, so that Mrs Hardy, always his first reader and kind critic, sometimes has to suggest that this John Jones is really Daniel Smith.

It is almost as if Hardy is waiting for the character to make the first move, or for Mrs Hardy to introduce him to them properly. In this respect, his stance suggests that of the male figures in novels like A Laodicean, or Far from the Madding Crowd, who find themselves mesmerized as they observe an unnamed woman’s inadvertent display – Bathsheba’s riding overlooked by Oak; or Paula’s baptismal caprices observed by Somerset, or her gymnastic undulations spied on by de Stacey . . . Certainly, for Oak, Somerset or de Stacey, an unsought surrender to what is before one’s eyes is where it all begins. As observation provokes an imagined connection that subjugates these men, so Bowker goes on to relate how Hardy himself would become similarly enthralled by his characters and allow them to dictate the direction and outcome of the story: But soon the characters take possession of him and of the story, he comes to know what each will think and will do in given circum-

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 103 stances, and for this reason he never plots the final development, the latter half, of a novel, but lets the dramatis personae finish it for themselves, and literally work out their own salvation or the contrary.8

In an obviously related way, Hardy’s texts often begin with a narrator who refuses information and omniscience. Characteristically, he will withhold the names of his characters, while mindfully inhabiting the scene he describes, alert to the intimations of atmosphere, gesture, mien. His watchfulness is an index of what Tanner also refers to as the ‘illusion that the tale exists independently of Hardy’s rendering of it’, and that gives the world of the fiction its special quality of ‘anonymity’ and impersonality’ (Tanner, ‘Colour and Movement in Tess’, 125). One of the further effects of this foregoing of mastery is that the characters are granted a kind of autonomy and space to shape the action and instil the writing with their own individuality. In the opening scenes of Two on a Tower, for instance, Lady Constantine’s ennui is staged through a desultory succession of largely inconsequential scenes whereby Hardy follows her still unnamed figure getting nearer to visiting the tower before she finally does so: […] The trap-door leading on to the roof was open, and on looking through it an interesting spectacle met her eye. A youth was sitting on a stool in the centre of the lead flat which formed the summit of the column, his eye being applied to the end of a large telescope that stood before him on a tripod. This sort of presence was unexpected, and the lady started back into the shade of the opening. The only effect produced upon him by her footfall was an impatient wave of the hand, which he did without removing his eye from the instrument, as if to forbid her to interrupt him. Pausing where she stood the lady examined the aspect of the individual who thus made himself so completely at home on a building which she deemed her unquestioned property. (Hardy, Two on a Tower, 6–7)

Hardy’s imagination is liberated, like those of his characters, in this anonymous setting where names, and distinctions of class and age appear temporarily suspended. Constantine is surprised and engaged by Swithin’s presence and his obliviousness to earthly surroundings (and her identity and status), and the scene begins to become more overtly charged with her unconscious need for romance. In these ways, the scene act as a lodestone that attracts and conducts the personal and dramatic forces of the text (as well as Hardy’s own creative capac-

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104 | E MOTION ities), and that arguably announces – through the divergent gazes and responses of the characters, and the secret setting – the nature of the tragedy to come. Of course, it is can be said that Two on a Tower as a novel, like A Laodicean, Desperate Remedies, A Pair of Blue Eyes, or The Hand of Ethelberta, is excessively dependent on this type of physical and affective inspiration, so that the second half of each of these novels – everything tending to pasteboard background, and sketchy, even bizarre, throwaway, contrivance – suffers by its departure. We know too that Hardy was conscious of this, and he would have been sensitive to Henry James’s patronizing denunciation of Far from the Madding Crowd, the master lamenting what he saw as the lack of an acceptable sense of ‘composition’ and ‘proportion’ on the part of this farmyard writer.9 Again, Hardy was badly shaken by early reviews of Desperate Remedies that latched on to its plot weaknesses, and in particular, what was seen as its over-reliance on visual elements. Thus, an anonymous reviewer of Desperate Remedies deplored how the plot was resolved ‘by the very dull expedient of a detective seeing the murderer remove the body’, while another complained of how events were made to turn upon the colour of a woman’s eyes.10 Certainly, it is all too clear that in these respects Hardy’s first published novel suffers because he is does not know when it is appropriate to stop looking, and time to turn back to the official business and duties of narrative. Hardy does not keep his contract with us, any more than Manston wishes to keep his contract with his wife, or Cytherea wishes to keep to hers with him. Hardy’s best designs and obligations are always sabotaged by more immediate temptations, like Bob’s in The Trumpet-Major: When he was thrown under the influence of Anne’s eyes again, which were more tantalizingly beautiful than ever just now (so it seemed to him), his intention of offering his services to the Government would wax weaker, and he would put off his decision till the next day.11

In this context, it is certainly possible to read Hardy’s career as a novelist as a series of concerted and ever more conscious attempts to head off the criticism that perception overrides structure: that detail wags the dog, as it were. In the later novels, this took the form, as John Bayley has argued, of fictions that were much more artistically wrought and thematically directed in accordance with Hardy’s conception of the characters’ social predicaments, with the effect that Hardy self-censors his ‘natural gifts of inconsistency and separation’ (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 191). The world of Hardy’s fiction

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 105 becomes dependent on his personal preconceptions, rather than being the independent source of his ‘impersonal’ perceptions (as in Michael Irwin and Ian Gregor’s formulation).12 Bayley writes: […] the fact that it is Hardy’s own exclusive view of things reminds us how little the world of his earlier novels appears to belong to him in this way, but he is the sole proprietor of the somberness of Jude as he was of the romance of Tess. (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 206)

Bayley’s point is a telling one, though one has to off-set the losses of the quotidian and comic against the obvious gains in intensity, formal innovation, and political power that have been emphasized by many recent critics as a feature of the greater focus of these later books.13 Nonetheless, for the purposes of this discussion, the question as to how we evaluate this difference between the different phases of Hardy’s career as a novelist is less important than emphasizing the continuity, throughout every phase, of his dependence upon the visual principles that I have outlined. And if we turn to the opening pages of The Woodlanders, or Tess or Jude, we find that the characters’ identities are still initially deferred, as always, while our attention is directed to their physicality: A young member of the band turned her head at the exclamation. She was a fine and handsome girl – not handsomer than some others, possibly, – but her mobile peony mouth and large innocent eyes added eloquence to colour and shape. (Hardy, Tess, 41–42)

Hardy is transfixed by Tess, as is conveyed by the evocative exactitude of her ‘mobile peony mouth and large innocent eyes’. As Bayley suggests, however, there is evident even here a type of conscious presentiment alien to the more exploratory modes of the earlier fiction. Tess’s features also function as symbolic motifs, consciously deployed by the narrator to convey her innocence, grace, susceptibility and refinement at odds with the world of the novel. From the start, Hardy’s definite conception of Tess and her fate is in this way a given in the text, and epitomized in the spiritual qualities with which her face is irradiated. In the Two on a Tower extract, contrastingly, the scene was also full of a sense of an accidental but possibly fateful meeting, like that between Tess and Angel, but Hardy himself appeared largely curious, within the provisional and contingent dimension of the narrative, as to where the scene might lead (if anywhere) for all concerned. It is a moment where things appear to hang in the balance. Contrastingly, it is an important aspect of the Tess scene, and of its

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106 | E MOTION amenability to the critic, that Hardy’s thumb appears, in Lawrence’s phrase, to be somewhat to be in the balance. So, Tess’s future (in this novel of omens) seems definitively foreshadowed in the layer of connotation that accompanies our initial image of her. Similarly, our first glimpse of Jude, ‘A little boy of eleven’, directs us to his face, but here (as throughout Jude the Obscure), Hardy uncharacteristically by-passes the actual detail of his hero’s face in pursuit of its meaning: defeated aspiration. Jude confronts life without Phillotson, his hitherto inspiring alter ego in the first of the novel’s intensifying series of like disappointments, and we read of how: Tears rose into the boy’s eyes, for he was not among the regular day scholars, who came unromantically close to the schoolmaster’s life, but one who had attended the night school only during the present teacher’s term of office. (Hardy, Jude, 28–29)

The passage intently suggests how Jude’s dreams, associated with Phillotson, are created out of both deprivation and distance. We are left in no doubt that Jude’s romance of the schoolteacher is both a function of need, and an illusion in inverse ratio to knowledge. Thus we are introduced into the world of Jude, and its typical combination of sympathy and irony, the tender pity and excoriating anger that drives the novel as it strips off society’s mask and confronts it with its hidden inhumanity. In these ways, the social critique of the text dominates it from the start, and has the effect here of obscuring the visual specificities of Jude’s features. Hardy’s ‘vision’, in Bayley’s phrase, thus has the ironic effect of attenuating the merely visual or visible, even as this novel too uses the face of the unnamed central character as its focal and departure point. The Woodlanders contrasts with Jude in that it is in fact a much more visual, descriptive, novel. At the same time, though, it is directly comparable in the way in which it focuses on a socio-economic tragedy, this time the tragedy of a community as described in the Introduction, an elegy for a way of life left behind, rather than an individual. As always, though, the novel begins by staging its particular drama and world through scenes where a character’s face and eyes are observed. The Introduction referred to how in Chapter Two of the novel, we follow the man we come to know as Barber Percomb before he, unobserved, spies the unnamed Marty through the window. But specifically, within this scene Percomb’s predatory, monetary, designs upon Marty’s hair, and her isolation, vulnerability, and lack of any protective sophistication are given:

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 107 Her face had the usual fullness of expression which is developed by a life of solitude. Where the eyes of a multitude continuously beat like waves upon a countenance they seem to wear away its mobile power: but in the still water of privacy every feeling and sentiment unfolds in visual luxuriance, to be interpreted as readily as a printed word by an intruder. (Hardy, The Woodlanders, 41–42)

Hardy is the intimate witness in this book to a vanishing way of life, and it is his solicitous feeling for the loss of the rural community that informs this depiction of Marty, as the narrator moves from her face to discuss the different expressions of those who live in solitude, as opposed to those who are used to ‘the eyes of a multitude’. So, too, the internal visual configuration of the scene anticipates the drama of the novel: time and again in The Woodlanders as we have seen the rending conflicts of the old and the new worlds are played out through scenes where one character spies upon another without eye contact, communication or reciprocity. So, at the end of Chapter Eight, Giles spies Fitzpiers ‘who was looking over the hedge to the opposite side of the way upon the figure of the unconscious Grace’ (Hardy, The Woodlanders, 96). Always a character is painfully encountering, or violently intruding into, another’s world, these scenic features providing formal equivalents of the way in which modernity, in the text as a whole, as the next invasive stage of human development, preys on, breaks into, and breaks up the world of the woodlands, consigning it, Hardy fears, to forgetting and oblivion.14 At the end, Little Hintock – that ‘one-eyed spot’ in Barber Percombe’s phrase (Hardy, The Woodlanders, 387) – is left to Marty, that ‘solitary and silent girl’ who is a kind of emanation both of place and of the anachronous logic of the novel itself, caught as it is at a crossroads between the still remembered past and the incursive future (Hardy, The Woodlanders, 393). Phillip Mallett has suggested that the unsparing depiction of historical strife and transition in The Woodlanders was a conscious corrective to the static and relatively idyllic representation of the society of Under the Greenwood Tree, and it is a conclusion that can be approached through contrasting the visual aspects and values of the texts.15 Certainly, the visual dynamics of Under the Greenwood Tree belong to a different novelistic world from those of the later book. The band who come together in the wood and in the Tranter’s house, before journeying to view Fancy Day at her window, offer a typical tableau of time-honoured unity totally at odds with the spatial and historical alienation of the characters in the later novel. At the same time, though, the scene also manifests Fancy’s ever-intriguing resis-

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108 | E MOTION tance to stable and totalizing representation. Throughout the book, she creates the dramatic and romantic discords of the text by eluding the interpretive desire she inspires. Fancy’s face, unlike Marty’s, is no open book. So, we hear of her face several times before we see her, ‘framed as a picture by the window architrave’, as ‘the blind went upward’. At this moment, ‘thirty concentrated eyes’ find ‘[h]er bright eyes were looking into the grey world outside with an uncertain expression, oscillating between courage and shyness’.16 In this way, Fancy at the open window imparts what can be seen as a saving indeterminacy to the text, her disruptive effect on the rustic community a means by which Hardy can keep the text itself open, and avoid a merely sentimental retrospection in his handling of the narrative. J. B. Bullen has reached a similar conclusion by way of his study of the pictorializing techniques in the text, particularly in relation to Fancy. He shows how we are constantly confronted by partial, framing, views of her, as in the scene just discussed, or when we read later of how ‘a slice of her left-hand side’ was ‘cut off by the edge of the door’ (Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree, 84). Bullen’s argument is a complex one, since he wants to suggest the novel’s indebtedness, in its rustic portraits, domestic interiors, and group vignettes, to the themes and compositional techniques of Dutch and English genre painting, while also suggesting that the text’s comically ‘self-conscious stylizing of images’ introduces a reflexive, proto-modernist, crease into the representation (Bullen, The Expressive Eye, 47). By baring the frame, Bullen suggests, Hardy preserves a knowing distance from what could otherwise appear a merely picturesque rendition of a rural world from which ‘all the harshness of agrarian life is excluded’ (Bullen, The Expressive Eye, 50). So, Hardy wriggles off various generic hooks, and the text finds a saving principle of provisionality and instability throughout its scenic and dramatic focus on Fancy. A creature of ‘uncertain expression’, she persistently eludes assimilation beneath the protective branches of the novel’s rustic world and pastoral mode, while eliciting desire, and anticipating new artistic and narrative departures. I want to revisit some of these points through a slightly more sustained discussion of this type of visual inspiration as it runs through The Return of the Native. In the opening chapters, the narrator postpones not only naming his characters but even their entrance, before he comes to observe several anonymous figures: an old man, a reddleman, and a mysterious woman, the hitherto ‘queen of the solitude’ who is in turn displaced by the arrival of the ‘bonfire-makers’ (Hardy, The Return of the Native, 42, 45). In the gathering shadows of the evening scene, the narrator’s impressions and rumination inten-

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 109 sify our imagination and curiosity, and at the beginning of Chapter VI we come closer to visualizing Eustacia, the ‘Figure Against the Sky’ of the Chapter’s title: When the whole Egdon concourse had left the site of the bonfire to its accustomed loneliness, a closely wrapped female figure approached the barrow […] That she was tall and straight in build, that she was ladylike in her movements, was all that could be learned of her just now […] Her reason for standing so dead still as the pivot of this circle of heath-country was just as obscure […] It might reasonably have been supposed that she was listening to the wind, which rose somewhat as the night advanced, and laid hold of the attention. (Hardy, The Return of the Native, 80)

Hardy, as he notes and quizzes the detail of the lonely and ‘obscure’ scene, and the call of the wind, manifests the need for human significance that immemorial Egdon provokes. For Eustacia, this desire for meaning is an intense and consuming eagerness, and it leads her here to convert the physical environment – the pond, the fire – into a private domain of signs and signals, for herself and for Wildeve who soon answers her call. And so the two meet, with Wildeve emerging from the darkness. At this point we have the first view of her eyes: ‘She let her joyous eyes rest upon him without speaking, as upon some wondrous thing she had created out of chaos’ (Hardy, The Return of the Native, 88). This moment of actual illumination and observation is, once again, not merely descriptive but prefigurative. It gives us access into Eustacia’s individuality as it will be played out as drama. The hint of irony (‘as upon some wondrous thing’) intimates her appetite for illusion, at the same time as other details (‘She let her joyous eyes rest upon him without speaking’) suggest her overriding desire for a transporting amorous connection by which she can her translate her own inchoate and solitary emotional life into meaning. At this significant moment, then, our sense of Eustacia begins to crystallize, and she is revealed to us from the hints and nocturnal obscurities that have shrouded our previous sense of her. She is still an enigma, but crucially her eyes suggest the yearning for ecstatic and sympathetic relatedness that propels her throughout the novel. Importantly, this desire for pleasure and expression mirrors and realizes our own fascinations at this moment, artfully provoked as these have been by the narrator’s reticence. Further, Hardy’s own creativity, as well as our own readerly pleasure, is mirrored by the aesthetic, ex nihilo, element in Eustacia’s longing (‘She let her joyous eyes rest upon

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110 | E MOTION him without speaking, as upon some wondrous thing she had created out of chaos’). Beneath any mere moral reservations, then, the emotional and physical texture of the writing introduces us into a much closer rapport with Eustacia, one that binds together her wish for escape and expression with the primary aesthetic effects of ‘pleasure’ and ‘renovation’ that Hardy associated with the innate sorcery of literature in ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’. Literature can create wondrous things from chaos and nothingness, and its spells can solicit our joy and move us to other places, as where (in an image reminiscent of Eustacia herself) Hardy writes of reading that ‘[i]n such a case the shifting of scene should manifestly be as complete as if the reader had taken the hind seat on a witch’s broomstick’ (Hardy, ‘Profitable Reading’, 242). For these reasons, then, we watch Eustacia as closely and absorbedly as Hardy watched the girls on the train, and share her abiding wish that soon her individuality will fully disclose itself. However, if the reader and narrator establish in these ways a secret intimacy with Eustacia, it is noticeable that she does not establish any real face to face with Wildeve himself. He does not look back at her, and her needs are too excessive to require or allow dialogue (‘She let her joyous eyes rest upon him without speaking’). Her desire is too impatient, and in the ensuing discussion she imperiously steamrolls Wildeve’s half-hearted desire to have done with the relationship, and to marry Thomasin after all. Of course, Eustacia’s imaginative desire for recreation (in every sense) is tragically her undoing. She is unable to see what is in front of her, because the obdurate world of the heath is always obscured by the compensatory fantasies that it provokes in her. Nevertheless, her longing for transcendence and flight make her the presiding spirit of this novel where every character has to struggle to achieve meaningful expression and relationships amid the resistant materiality of Egdon. She is, like us, a creature of overweening projective desire – often crucially expressed in terms of vision, as when she looks towards Wildeve’s home: There was no doubt that her mind was inclined thitherward; indefinitely, fancifully – twining and untwining about him as the single object within her horizon on which dreams might crystallize. (Hardy, The Return of the Native, 120)

or when, a little later, we read of her outside Clym’s house, before she has yet seen him but when he has just become the focus of her longings:

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 111 Eustacia stood just within the heath, straining her eyes in the direction of Mrs Yeobright’s house and premises. (Hardy, The Return of the Native, 140)

II When Virginia Woolf wrote in ‘The Novels of Thomas Hardy’ that we remember Hardy’s characters for their ‘passions’, and for the sudden and overwhelming catastrophes that overtake them as a result,17 or when D. H. Lawrence expressed the opinion that ‘[n]owhere, except perhaps in Jude, is there the slightest development of personal action in the characters: it is all explosive’,18 they both suggested a view of his writing similar to that which underpins this chapter: that, for Hardy, the spiritual life is conducted through the body and the emotions, with the consequence that, as Barbara Hardy succinctly put it, a Hardy character is ‘a variable, not a constant’.19 While this affective and interpersonal logic applies to the large and memorable events in Hardy’s fiction, as Woolf and Lawrence suggest, it is true too of small, inconsequential moments, like the following from Desperate Remedies. Cytherea and Miss Hinton argue animatedly over Edward Springrove, until the moment when ‘[t]he two rivals had now lost their personality quite’, and There was the same keen brightness of eye, the same movement of the mouth, as they looked doubtingly and excitedly at each other. (Hardy, Desperate Remedies, 137)

The loss of socialized ‘personality’ is coterminous with the comically automatic, bristling, disclosure of individuality conveyed by Cytherea and Adelaide’s excited and distrustful eyes. Each is surprised by jealousy and indignation, and feels herself propelled into a discomfiting intimacy. To hazard a quasi-philosophical description of this, one can say that Hardy’s writing entails a cogito of a non-rationalist kind. The mind for Hardy is not an logically inviolable core of indubitable identity, but a changeable capacity of individuation, dependent on affective affinities and contingencies, and expressed through the body. Broadly, it is not a case of the logical certainty of ‘I think, therefore I am’, but of the empirical surprise of ‘We are here, therefore I am becoming different . . . ’ Self-consciousness is on this model not the unifying condition of perception and material experience, but an incidental, transitory, effect of it. For these reasons moments of eye contact, of all

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112 | E MOTION sensory moments, take on a paradigmatic status in Hardy. They provide key instances where the mind reveals itself to itself and to others by way of the body’s sentient and expressive powers. In The Well-Beloved, for instance, Pierston falls for the second Avice as she looks back at him, a moment of change for both: When she glanced up, her lineaments seemed to have all the soul and heart that had characterized her mother’s, and had been with her a true index of the spirit within. (Hardy, The Well-Beloved, 88)

The self or ‘soul’ (in his terminology) is, as argued in Chapters 1 and 4, for Hardy a matter not of self-certitude, rational will, motive, or social morality, but of affective responsiveness and involuntary relatedness. Individual expression is dependent on physical modes of association. Accordingly, the various serial manifestations of the ‘soul and heart’ or ‘spirit within’ in Hardy’s fiction are dependent on chance encounters, those face-to-face meetings that put the skids under social identity, and that anticipate the complications and possibilities of the future.20 So, this section will explore how in Hardy’s fiction we recurrently get this sense of unconscious engagement, as in the erotic, comic, or perilous, pinball of glances out of which emerge new versions of the self, as it forges its erotic and affective connections. Indeed, one can imagine that Lawrence had such scenes in mind when he wrote about the explosive individuality of Hardy’s characters. However, Lawrence’s own characters tend to appear only individualistic in comparison, since they lack the radical and generative instability, the futurity, of Hardy’s characters, their capacity to be themselves in unpredictable, as yet unrecognized, ways. Time and change are of the essence of Hardy’s characters because, as we have seen, they are so embodied and independent in his imagination. For this reason, the characters’ eyes often betray new, emergent, versions of the self that precede and exceed their own self-knowledge, and which similarly lead on the narrator himself. So, for instance, it can be said of a scene like the following from Under the Greenwood Tree that it holds in itself, in potentia, the dramatic possibilities of the text. Dick and Fancy are jogging along behind the farmer’s cart, before they are overtaken by Shiner and friend in a dazzling ‘brand-new gig’ whose: panels glared like mirrors in Dick and Fancy’s eyes. The driver, and owner as it appeared, was really a handsome man; his companion was Shiner. Both turned round as they passed Dick and Fancy and stared with bold admiration in her face till they were obliged to attend to the

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 113 operation of passing the farmer. Dick glanced for an instant at Fancy while she was undergoing their scrutiny; then returned to his driving with rather a sad countenance. (Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree, 136)

Typically, the plot here turns on this weave of glances, as Dick looks at her being looked at by Shiner. Dick’s gloom is prophetic, for later she will have to confess how she has come to let Shiner fall in love with her, ‘He looked at me, and I looked at him’ (Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree, 144). In the first version of these events to Dick, she is all evasion, but then Dick looks into her eyes to find, Misery of miseries! – guilt was written there still. ‘Now, Fancy, you’ve not told me all!’ said Dick […] ‘Well, when I put my hand on the bridge, he touched it […] And then he looked at me, and he said, ‘Are you in love with Dick Dewy?’ And I said, “Perhaps I am!’ (Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree, 145)

Dick ignores her words, and pursues in her eyes the truth of this earlier moment on the bridge when Shiner too had looked into them. Eye contact offers a more direct and viable access to her personality than words, because Fancy Day is a creature of passion and the moment, and as such, it is her eyes that offer the best testimony to the thoughts and feelings that will be played out in subsequent pages. In a comparable moment, in Desperate Remedies, Cytherea confesses to her brother, and as it were to herself, looking defiantly and ‘stonily into his face’, that her feelings for Edward have resurfaced: ‘Owen,’ she said, and paused. Her lip trembled; her eye told of sensations too deep for tears. ‘No, Owen, it has not left me; and I will be honest. I own now to you, without any disguise of words, what last night I did not own to myself, because I hardly knew of it. I love Edward Springrove with all my strength, and heart and soul. (Hardy, Desperate Remedies, 277)

Similarly, in Chapter Seven of A Pair of Blue Eyes, Stephen, in his campaign to wring an avowal of love from Elfride, seeks to influence her by looking into her eyes: ‘Eyes in eyes,’ he murmured playfully; and she blushingly obeyed, looking back into his. ‘And why not lips on lips?’ continued Stephen daringly.

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114 | E MOTION ‘No, certainly not. Anybody might look; and it would be the death of me. You may kiss my hand if you like.’ He exclaimed by a look that to kiss a hand through a glove, and that a riding–glove was not a great treat in the circumstances. ‘There, then; I’ll take my glove off. Isn’t it a pretty white hand? Ah, you don’t want to kiss it, and you shall not now! (Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes, 90)

Elfride’s innate delight in the open-ended pleasures of courtship comes up against Stephen’s counter-wish to tie her down. In the rest of the chapter Stephen does accomplish his desire, moving from exchanging looks (‘eyes in eyes’), to exchanging kisses (‘lips on lips’), avowals, and ultimately promises of fidelity. Yet the reciprocity conceals real conflicts. For all his mildness, Stephen is coercive and insistent while, for all her apparent willingness, Elfride is resistant: ‘Love is new, and fresh to us as the dew; and we are together. As the lover’s world goes, this is a great deal. Stephen, I fancy I see the difference between me and you – between men and women generally, perhaps. I am content to build happiness on any accidental basis that may lie near at hand; you are for making the world to suit your happiness.’ (Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes, 93)

Elfride sees here a fundamental difference between her and Stephen, and between the sexes. At its crudest, it is the difference between enjoying love and enjoining it, between making contact, and the contract of marriage itself. The woman, it seems, has a different conception or temporal experience of love: she wishes to prolong the ecstatic immediacy of the time when ‘love is new, and fresh to us as the dew, and we are together’, whereas Stephen, as a man, needs to pin it down within a system of obligation. In this respect, Elfride voices the tension that she feels in this chapter, and throughout the novel, between past and present lovers. Arguably, indeed, this is an abiding predicament, not only for her, but for Fancy, Eustacia, Lucetta, Anne Garland, Grace Melbury, and so on – in fact, for nearly all of Hardy’s heroines where new love, or romantic opportunism, or a tendency to vacillation, threaten to override fidelity. Whether or not this generalization about the genders is suggestive, though, is secondary to the fact that the distinction that underlies it – between self-consciousness and unconscious response – has from another viewpoint nothing to do with gender. After all, the division of socialized identity and spontaneity is one of that distinguishes all of Hardy’s characters, male or female. It also applies to Hardy himself,

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 115 for whom the subversive values of immanence and self-differentiation, of ‘change and chancefulness’, are intrinsic to his work from the beginning.21 Hardy’s women may seem to embody this principle more extremely (as described in the previous chapter), but one must equally say that their readiness for new associations depends on the other person being equally ready to forget himself. As in the face to face of eye contact, there can be no destabilizing exchange of signals without affinities or correspondences – of sensibility, sexuality or sympathy.22 Further, insofar as Hardy’s own creativity is itself dependent on perception, it is possible to describe individual novels as successively various experiments in vision, where ‘The poetry of a scene lies in the minds of the perceivers’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 50). So Desperate Remedies, for instance, could be described as an exhilaratingly experimental or provisional novel, so heedlessly and instinctively committed is it to seeking (in Elfride’s phrase) to ‘build happiness on any accidental basis that may lie near at hand’. Thus the key moments in the book indeed can indeed be described as those marvellous and crucial scenes where the homeless heroine’s eyes, for instance, meet those of Miss Aldclyffe, or Edward, or Manston. Exuberant and expansive as the writing is in these cases, Hardy also often seems to use such scenes to jump-start the narrative, so that the preposterous coincidences and causes of plot become dependent on these other – oracular and affective – kinds of coincidence. So, we read in Chapter IX of how Cytherea in her pew discovered Manston’s black eyes ‘waiting desirously for a glimpse of hers, and […] more strangely, the eyes of Miss Aldclyffe furtively resting on him’ (Hardy, Desperate Remedies, 160). At this moment, the word ‘furtively’ trails along with it the stalling plot. Contrastingly, The Mayor of Casterbridge, is an experiment of a different kind, one that employs a succession of powerful tableaux to find memorable, theatrical, equivalents for Henchard’s titanic character and passionate volatility. How much, for instance, of his volcanic and perverse personality, and the large canvas, epic technique of the novel, is already signalled in the opening scene, or in Chapter 38, where his murderous hatred for Farfrae is illustrated by the dramatic fight in the loft of the corn store. In this huge set piece Henchard’s violent antipathy is instantaneously and bewilderingly transmuted to its opposite as his eyes meet those of the younger man: ‘Now,’ said Henchard between his gasps, ‘this is the end of what you began this morning. Your life is in my hands.’ ‘Then take it, take it!’ said Farfrae. ‘Ye’ve wished to long enough!’ Henchard looked down upon him in silence, and their eyes met. ‘O

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116 | E MOTION Farfrae! – that’s not true!’ he said bitterly. ‘God is my witness that no man ever loved another as I did thee at one time . . . And now – though I came here to kill ‘ee, I cannot hurt thee!’ (Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge, 274)

In contrast to these Old Testament climaxes in The Mayor of Casterbridge, we can consider the very different world of A Laodicean, a book that could be loosely described as anti-climactic – a novel of interrupted or deferred desire, as in the many early scenes where George strives to gain a clear view and sense of Paula, only to be frustrated. Where Henchard cannot contain himself, the opening chapters of A Laodicean are a protracted teasing of George’s longing, as he attempts unavailingly to see Paula, and the same logic applies to those later scenes where he expects to see her, only for William Dare, Mrs Goodman, or sundry de Staceys to get in the way. Ultimately, of course, he has to negotiate the intrusions of Captain de Stacey and William Dare, and the destruction of her imposing castle, before she will marry him. Undoubtedly, Hardy’s illness during the writing of the novel is largely responsible for the collapse in quality in the later part. However, flawed as the book is, and different as it is from the monumental grandeur of The Mayor of Casterbridge, it also pursues visual principles, and dramatizes the confusions of identity, and the fluctuations of passion. It might be that it is Paula’s social position, and the power and constraints that it brings, that makes her so elusive, and defines the peculiar affective world of A Laodicean. This social inaccessibility makes her superficially similar to Ethelberta, though in The Hand of Ethelberta the social divisions are located intractably within the heroine herself. Unlike Paula, Ethelberta’s social position means that she becomes sadly love-proof, and the ending of the book is informed by the pathos of her self-denial. This makes the lapse in Chapter 4, by which she spontaneously and eloquently exchanges glances with Christopher at the dance, all the more affecting. Initially, he plays the keyboard, giving ‘himself up with a curious, and far from unalloyed pleasure to the occupation of watching Ethelberta, now and again crossing the field of his vision like a returned comet whose characteristics were becoming purely historical’. Then, though, their eyes meet: It was only a look, and yet what a look it was! One may say of a look that it is capable of division into as many species, genera, orders and classes, as the animal world itself. Christopher saw Ethelberta Petherwin’s performance in this kind – the well-known spark of light

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 117 upon the well-known depths of mystery – and felt something going out of him which had gone out of him once before. (Hardy, The Hand of Ethelberta, 64)

Ethelberta reveals more than she means, and perhaps more than she herself knows, about her latent or buried feelings for Christopher. However, the drawbridge of her self-control clangs down in the novel, leaving Christopher and the reader on the outside. At the same time, we are left in no doubt that her reticence is primarily a function of her contorted social position and divided loyalties. Ethelberta as a character, like Hardy himself, is torn between the class she is coming from, and the class she is going towards, and the price of her ambition and loyalty to her family is a repressive secrecy. In the compartmentalized world of The Hand of Ethelberta, the self-revelation of eye contact tends to be replaced by the guarded manipulation of facial expression, and ‘the strain of keeping up smiles with Lord Mountclere’ (Hardy, The Hand of Ethelberta, 271). In Far from the Madding Crowd, there is an unusual, if hard-won degree and kind of reciprocity and mutual knowledge between the central female character and Oak, notwithstanding the warning note with which the novel ends. In the process, Bathsheba becomes probably more satisfactorily assimilated by plot and society than any other female character in Hardy. Nonetheless, she has to travel through much consternation and uncertainty before her surprised recognition that she loves Oak. So, she is oddly constrained when she calls on him to try and prevail on him against going away: It was very odd to these two persons, who knew each other passing well, that the mere circumstance of their meeting in a new place and in a new way should make them so awkward and constrained. In the fields, or at her house, there had never been any embarrassment; but now that Oak had become the entertainer their lives seemed to be moved back to the days when they were strangers. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 417)

The mutual estrangement that take place here is again prompted and conveyed by looking: Gabriel looked her long in the face, but the firelight being faint there was not much to be seen. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 418)

The moving ironies at the end of Far from the Madding Crowd, then, are that Bathsheba can only recognize Oak by losing her customary

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118 | E MOTION image of him, and can only recover her own self-image and autonomy by recognizing her hitherto unacknowledged dependence upon him. As the pair move towards the shared identity and understanding of their marriage, then, there is a complex comic renegotiation of identity. This breaks up that previous pattern by which Bathsheba had benefited from a clear asymmetry of need, power and desire, a pattern likewise expressed in scenes where the characters look at each other. So, in the opening pages, Oak spies Bathsheba in various situations – smiling at her mirrored reflection, talking to her aunt, riding her horse, and carrying her milk pail, before she sees ‘Gabriel’s face rising like a moon behind the hedge’ (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 54). As Bathsheba returns his gaze, both are discomfited: Oak feels as if he has been caught reading over her shoulder. She wonders what it is that he has been reading there: That the girl’s thoughts hovered about her face and form as soon as she caught Oak’s eyes conning the same page was natural, and almost certain.

Their eye contact carries the nuance of a privacy invaded, and in the ensuing confusion, it is a question of who will regain their composure first. Ultimately, of course, it is Oak who is more rattled by the situation: The self-consciousness shown would have been vanity if a little more pronounced, dignity if a little less. Rays of male vision seemed to have a tickling effect upon virgin faces in rural districts; she brushed hers with her hand, as if Gabriel had been irritating its pink surface by actual touch, and the free air of her previous movements was reduced at the same time to a chastened phase of itself. Yet it was the man who blushed, the maid not at all. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 55)

This face-off and exchange of glances set the terms for Oak and Bathsheba’s relationship for most of the book. His embarrassment cedes to her the upper hand, because his blushing offers incontrovertible evidence of his prior emotional investment. This is repeated a page or two later where Bathsheba is momentarily thrown by Oak’s confession that he had descried her when she had lost her hat earlier. However, Oak is again finally the one at a disadvantage. He feels sympathy, and shame at having spied on her, and then comically redoubles this by his embarrassed feeling that he is now re-enacting the shameful act as he observes her ‘nettled palpitation’ and blushes:

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 119 A perception caused him to withdraw his own eyes from hers as suddenly as if he had been caught in a theft. Recollection of the strange antics she had indulged in when passing through the trees was succeeded in the girl by a nettled palpitation, and that by a hot face […] The sympathetic man still looked the other way, and wondered when she would recover coolness sufficient to justify him in facing her again. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 56)

Oak’s prostration before Bathsheba is given in graphic terms at the end of the chapter where she rescues him from suffocation in his hut. Where his intrusion into her unconscious world had resulted in his loss of face, her intrusion into his here confirms her power over him. At the close, she exploits this freedom, and gives poor, lost Gabriel the run-a-round. She supposes that he is thinking that he would like to kiss her mouth: ‘I wasn’t thinking of any such thing’, said Gabriel simply, ‘but I will –’ ‘That you won’t!’ She snatched back her hand. Gabriel felt himself guilty of another want of tact. ‘Now find out my name’, she said teasingly, and withdrew. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 60)

Further, outside of this relationship, one can see more generally how productive are these connections between visibility, individuality, and narrative in the novel, and how far scenes of gazing or eye contact take on a generative power and significance in Hardy’s mind. Boldwood begins by looking at Bathsheba surreptitiously, as did Oak, but then his emotion comes to give him away. As he looks at her in the meadows, we read that his face ‘showed that he was now living outside his defences for the first time, and with a fearful sense of exposure’ (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 154). Contrarily, Troy is as expert and direct with eye contact as he is with pinning caterpillars or slicing locks of hair with his sword. We read of how at his first meeting with Bathsheba: He looked hard into her eyes when she raised them for a moment; Bathsheba looked down again, for his gaze was too strong to be received point-blank with her own. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 193)

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120 | E MOTION At their next meeting, when he comes for pleasure to make hay, she tries to avoid eye contact: As soon as she had entered the field Troy saw her, and sticking his pitchfork into the ground and picking up his crop or cane, he came forward. Bathsheba blushed with half-angry embarrassment, and adjusted her eyes as well as her feet to the direct line of her path. (Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 200)

Troy’s presence is typically impertinent and intrusive, but the scene again expresses Bathsheba’s affective confusion. She tries to fix her mind and gaze on the straight and narrow path ahead, but is inconveniently divided between anger at Troy’s incursions into her privacy, and her involuntary attraction to him and all that he represents, with his pitchfork and his ‘crop or cane’. In contrast to the coming together of Oak and Bathsheba, the failure of genuine eye contact in the tragic world of Jude can be said to encode the novel’s drama of misrecognition and disappointment, and to indicate the very different visual values of this novel. When Jude and Arabella meet, his reverie about higher forms of fulfilment is graphically punctuated by the pig’s pizzle that slaps him in the ear, and by Arabella’s eyes, which convey ‘a momentary flash of intelligence, a dumb announcement of affinity in posse’ (an instinctual message sardonically noted by the narrator as ‘conjunctive orders from headquarters’ [Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 59]). Eye contact here is debased to an animalistic summons that prevents authentic individual expression in the most graphic and explicit ways. Similarly, throughout the novel, Jude’s ‘dark harmonizing eyes’ convey his persistent openness for meaningful, idealized connection, but his looking is a function of inner selections and projections that have no correspondence with the world. Desire and fact are persistently mismatched, a state of affairs often troped through images of eye contact. So, the world will not return his gaze in the same manner. After his ‘first ecstasy or vision of Christminster’ (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 49), when the city was described as ‘either directly seen or miraged in the peculiar atmosphere’ (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 41), we read of the demeaning reality, as with the city lights that ‘winked their yellow eyes at him dubiously’ (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 97). Again, Jude feels that the road to Alfredston ‘stared him cynically in the face’ (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 86), or that ‘the colleges had treacherously changed their sympathetic countenances’ (Hardy, the Obscure, 103). Reciprocity in Jude is a delusion, and in human terms, this means that the face of the other person is only readable

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 121 retrospectively, as an ironic or dismissive commentary on gullibility, as in the passage discussed in the previous chapter, where Jude finds in the broker’s shop the photograph of himself he had inscribed for Arabella on their wedding day. Sue’s eyes offer an equally fateful lure. That ‘pretty, liquid-eyed, light-footed young woman’ (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 113), Sue is less someone who won’t disclose her feelings, than someone whose feelings remain virtual and mobile, ever on the edge of articulation. Jude fatally misreads her lack of availability as an inspiring token of affective and spiritual possibility, as if her fluid diffuseness were a counterpart for his own idealizing nature. If Jude never really sees or looks at Sue, however, it is not merely because she is not easily seeable, but also because he is not fully capable of seeing her. To cite Wittgenstein’s distinction, Sue is as much a ‘target’ as a ‘cause’ of Jude’s excessive emotion, as it ‘insensibly began to precipitate itself on this half-visionary form’ (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 109).23 Hardy unremittingly indicates this phenomenology of affective illusion on Jude’s part through his failure to establish meaningful eye contact with the neurotically fearful and masochistic Sue: Sue stood like a vision before him – her look bodeful and anxious as in a dream. (Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 206)

This lack of mutual recognition is announced in their ominous first meeting in the darkness, at the Martyrs’ Memorial, where there is, tellingly, no description of eye contact, though Jude confesses to having stolen glances at her ‘now and then’. Sue defers the moment of meeting slightly, by telling Jude to walk on because of the ‘gloomy and inauspicious’ associations of the scene. Jude’s over-eagerness, and Sue’s pained withdrawal from emotional openness are evident here, a prefiguring that is itself ironically prefigured in the earlier scene, where Sue, unknowing, had gazed through Jude in the street, as she looked right into his face with liquid, untranslatable eyes, that combined, or seemed to him to combine, keenness with tenderness, and mystery with both [… ] She no more observed his presence than that of the dust-motes which his manipulations raised into the sunbeams. (Hardy, Jude, 109)

There are many such passages where looking as mutual revelation has been replaced by an enigmatic kind of tantalization, as when we read later that ‘She looked into his eyes with her own tearful ones, and her lips suddenly parted as if she were going to avow something. But she

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122 | E MOTION went on; and whatever she had meant to say remained unspoken’ (Hardy, Jude, 195). In Jude, then, the failures of self-expression and relatedness can be tracked through these failures of eye contact. In Tess, too, the broken correspondence between the central character and the world of the novel is expressed at times through a fraught drama of the gaze. In the garden, Angel interrogates Tess as to why she is so burdened with ‘sad imaginings’, to which she cryptically replies that ‘The trees have inquisitive eyes, haven’t they? – that is, they seem to me as if they had. And the river says, – “Why do ye trouble me with your looks?”’ (Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 163). Her feeling that she is being scrutinized, and that she is unwisely trespassing with her ‘looks’, give shape to the hopeless feeling that Clare’s curiosity produces in her. She feels that she can only prolong the relationship through evasion. And so it proves, since knowledge of her past makes Angel the ironic vehicle of social rejection. As much as Jude, then, though again with a difference, Tess is a novel about the failures of the face to face, and the ironic recoil of knowledge upon the illusions that cloud recognition. When Tess confesses her past to Angel on their wedding night, we read that ‘[E]ach diamond on her neck gave a sinister wink like a toad’s’ (Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 268), and that: the complexion even of external things seemed to suffer transmutation as her announcement progressed. The fire in the grate looked impish – demoniacally funny, as if it did not care in the least about her strait. The fender grinned idly, as if it did not care in the least about her strait. All material objects around announced their irresponsibility with terrible iteration. And yet nothing had changed since the moment when he had been kissing her; or rather, nothing in the substance of things. But the essence of things had changed. (Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 270)

It is a scene in which Tess and Angel appear to avoid looking at each other, though every object of the world appears to gaze eloquently at them. In the later scene Clare leaves, rising ‘in the light of a dawn that was ashy and furtive’, while ‘the fireplace confronted him with its extinct embers’ and ‘the other articles of furniture’ gave ‘their eternal look of not being able to help it, their intolerable inquiry what was to be done?’ (Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 279). In closing, then, this chapter has sought to describe how Hardy’s fiction in fundamental ways explores the nuances of looking and eye contact, and exploits their formative and catalytic powers for narrative. These modes of vision have been seen to offer a template for the

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‘What I see in their faces’ | 123 type of creativity that animates his work, since for Hardy thought and self-expression are seen not as functions of reflexive subjectivity, but as functions of a physically mediated responsiveness by which the ‘soul’ recreates itself through its interactions with what is outside it – its environment and other people. Vision, for Hardy, one can say, is not a matter of seeing, as a static and objective recognition, but of looking, as a dynamic interaction, one in which the false unities of subjectivity and social personality are displaced, and hitherto undisclosed or forgotten possibilities of individual expression are released, for the narrator, character and reader.24 Hardy himself found in such unstable moments an access to his own unconscious, physically conveyed, scenic and narrative powers. Finally, by implication, the reader also is introduced into this chain of looking and expression, as he or she becomes in turn reflected in the writing, as it draws out dormant or hidden feelings and desires.

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VOI C E

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CHAPTER

6

‘Metre and Context’ Hardy’s “Neutral Tones” R. W. King’s 1925 comment that Thomas Hardy’s well-known 1867 poem, ‘Neutral Tones’, was distinguished by ‘a kind of acrid clarity in both thought and style’,1 led Claire Senior to reply that, nonetheless, ‘few readers today would praise Hardy for clarity’.2 This exchange might suggest why ‘Neutral Tones’ continues to be an intriguing poem, since it highlights a paradoxical sense that the poem’s effectiveness derives from the expressive relationship between the dismal, matterof-fact aura of its mundane scene, and the contrary perception that there is much within and outside the poem, that is withheld, elided, obscure. The reading offered here is exercised, like that of many critics and biographers since King, by a sense of the complex generative ratio between what is clear and singular, though haunting about the poem, and all that is reticent, or enigmatic – about its speaker, its situation, and the young poet who wrote it. What this piece seeks primarily to do, though, is to approach the interlocking affective, subjective, and biographical dimensions of the poem through a close, sustained, examination of its metre. The main emphasis is on describing how the poem’s distinctive modernity surfaces in its registration of disillusion, triumphantly controlled and evident at the level of intonation as well as theme. The reading seeks to show how far the originality of the poem is essentially a matter of voice and tone, of micro-enactments and expressive disjunctions that register the fluctuations and refluxes of the speaker’s stalled feeling and self-awareness. A related biographical suggestion is that the very success of the poem, premised as it was on an inscription of affective failure and contingency, might have been discomfiting for the young Hardy who would shortly after 1867 abandon for an indefinite time his main dedication to poetry. Linda Shires has described the definitively post-Romantic aesthetic scoped in the poem.3 However, one wonders (to put it no more strongly) if Hardy at this time was personally equipped to pursue this kind of inspiration. He was, after all, a

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128 | V OICE young man ardent about poetry and romance, as well as wily, gifted, and ambitious. However, he was also socially insecure, depressive, hyper-sensitive, and self-doubting, and the irony would not have been lost on him that his muse in this first great poem was so relentlessly unsparing, dissociative, and agnostic. Of course, to say that ‘Neutral Tones’ reveals Hardy’s poetic sensibility is not to confuse the poem’s speaker with Hardy himself. J. M. P. Gleeson has usefully counselled critics against such conflations, while emphasizing that Hardy gains by exploiting two overlapping kinds of tension: firstly, that between the biographical and poetic selves, and secondly, that between Romantic and Modernist lyrical modes.4 In the metrical reading that follows, the sense of Hardy as a poet between times is evident not merely in the specific themes, or temporal problematic, of the poem itself, but also rhythmically speaking, in a dynamic derangement of pattern that is the means by which the specifically ungrounded, disjunctive, and ironic Hardeyan voice emerges against nineteenth-century precedents. The well-known analogy drawn in the Life between a strategic ‘irregularity’ in metre, and that of Gothic architecture was, it was worth remembering, one drawn in early years with a certain defensiveness.5 Through it, Hardy wrote, he ‘fortified himself’ against the undermining strictures of those for whom ‘metrical pauses, and reversed beats’ were the marks of poetic incompetence, rather than the necessary resources of a poetry that sought ‘spontaneity’, and that was concerned with ‘stress than syllable, poetic texture rather than poetic veneer’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 301). This accords with Dennis Taylor’s central perception that Hardy’s virtuosity in diverse metres and stanzaic forms was related to the ‘dialectic’ between ‘the abstract nature of metrical form’ and ‘spoken language’ (Taylor, Hardy’s Metres, 5). In this connection, Bayley memorably takes ‘Neutral Tones’ as a poem that registers the ‘Hardeyan law of separation’, whereby formal elements (like the couple in the poem one might say) resist synthesis, while standing outside or alongside each other. Bayley writes of the ‘crumbling’ of intonation in the poem, to suggest how the lines obey, too, the operative principle of effective disconnection.6 Other critics have suggestively, if often passingly, explored the contributions made by rhythm to the peculiar effectiveness of ‘Neutral Tones’. Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, for instance, tellingly identify the shift in each stanza – from four or five beats in the first three lines, to a final three beat line at the end – with the poem’s creation of ‘an effect of blankness, of something missing, of incomplete suspense’, a ‘sense of bleak hopelessness’ and ‘a lack which is inexpressible’ (Bennett and Royle, Introduction, 151). Margaret Fouret, further, explores closely

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‘Metre and Context’ | 129 the shifting subtleties of rhythm that form the focus of my discussion. She writes about the variable, intermittent, nature of metre in ‘Neutral Tones’, whereby iambic, anapaestic, and spondaic elements alternate, often with an unusual indetermination, so that the reader is required to construe how the lines are to be voiced and projected. Her conclusion is that what she calls ‘the regularly irregular metre’ helps ‘mimic the human voice wearily but obsessively rehearsing’ the death of a relationship that now holds ‘no more meaning’.7 What, then, of the poem itself? As every reader knows, everything speaks of discord, suspended existence, and interrupted capacity. Two former lovers stand by a pond, under a winter sun itself drained of force and colour, and seemingly truant from God’s plan. God himself is imagined as irritable, contradicted, chiding, out of sorts. Similarly, the speaker is out of kilter with his own surroundings, beset by a sense of detention and of division – both from self and others. The pair themselves are caught up in that unaccountable logic of a romantic end-game where they indefinitely occupy positions they no longer feel, in a world in which they are made bewilderingly aware of contingency. Like the victim of a shipwreck, the speaker distractedly surveys the detritus of the scene, the quotidian elements meticulously fixed and indexed in his mind. Words and smiles have become divorced from any intimate function. Smiles are associated now with a merely automatic, perfunctory, kind of mutual recrimination, and words with accidental verbal connections, forgotten feelings, or sterile play. At the end of the poem, it is explicit that the speaker is himself still subjected by ‘that winter day’ – and by the scenario of leave-taking and lifelessness. Like a screen memory, reprised in the final stanza, the dispersed elements of the scene – the white sun, the starving sod, the gray ash leaves – appear symbolically associated with feelings that are no longer directly available to his consciousness, even as it finds itself passively ‘shaped’ by them. In such a way, the final scene mesmerizingly appears to encode a fable of a mind fixated yet dislocated, and occupying, still, an anachronistic interval where self-renewal and comprehension are postponed. As Harold Bloom puts it, ‘the struggle both with God and the woman are now over’ and ‘the world now lies in ruin, both colorless and utterly devoid of hope’.8 Unsurprisingly, critics have often taken ‘Neutral Tones’ as Hardy’s first signature poem, one of those early pieces by which a poet’s sensibility appears unaccountably to arrive on the page, condensing itself mysteriously in a mis-en-scène that announces repeating themes, and imaginative, tonal and formal qualities, that will unfold themselves more explicitly in other works. In this way, its status is clearly comparable to other, similarly concerted and totemic poems, like ‘Mariana’,

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130 | V OICE ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, or ‘Prufrock’, which critics take, with hindsight, as useful epitomes of a writer’s mind and universe. As Samuel Hynes wrote, with ‘Neutral Tones’ ‘we recognize and acknowledge one man’s sense of the world’.9 Critics have been almost universal in their admiration of the poem, and its status is secured by the fact that its language has always invited close investigation. Indeed, the poem’s peculiar reined-in, withdrawn, specification, has made it unusual to the degree it rewards critical (as well as biographical) excavation. Accordingly, Paul C. Docherty and E. Dennis Taylor debated certain of its syntactical creases with W. W. Morgan in Victorian Poetry in 1973,10 while Senior (building on insights of Dennis Taylor’s), devoted a long, fruitful, article in the same journal thirty-five years later to teasing out the ramifying philological trails that are signaled by the scrupulous, ‘self-conscious manipulation of language on Hardy’s part’.11 My reading has been informed by these and other important accounts of the poem. In the narrower focus of developing a metrical reading, though, I have sought, above all, to benefit again from Thomas Carper and Derek Attridge’s system of metrical transcription because of the resources of sensitivity and flexibility it offers, in describing shades, alternatives, and nuances of sound and phrasing.12 So, stanza by stanza, the metrical part of the discussion will concentrate on describing how various rhythmical motifs are at work within each verse, effectively shaping the poem’s tonal expression of a speaker who surveys the aftermath of a failed love. Because such a reading sharply reveals the inseparability of intonation, intention, and interpretation it inevitably raises biographical, as well as critical and literary-historical questions. What of these contextual issues, then? In what follows, my interest is in the ways in which Hardy inaugurated his poetic career by expressing and exploring, with an ironic fertility of language, a situation in which speaker and world, are, as it were, critically withdrawn from each other, and in which creative power was inseparable from the expression of emptiness, sterility, and loss. The relation with the girl is over, but the ethical question that reverberates within the poem is how, and if, the speaker can restore his relation with his colourless world, and recover a voice sunk within tonelessness. Biographically speaking, for all his youthful admiration of the Swinburne who was living half a mile away in London, Hardy in 1867 was scarcely someone as yet at ease with atheism, and it could be a profoundly disconcerting fact for a young man, of romantic and literary ambition, to discover that his poetic gift was so bound up, not only with disjunction, scepticism, and melancholy, but with a potentially vertiginous

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‘Metre and Context’ | 131 sense of self-loss, finitude, and decay. Hardy could scarcely have been aware of the further irony of how far ahead of its time was ‘Neutral Tones’, in its anticipation of literary modernity.13 Yet he must have felt something of it, since within the poem the speaker is one who is so unforgettably appears to be numbed, reproved, and oppressed by his belated disengagement from what he observes. He appears to have lost any power to control or absorb or react to his experience, merely standing before a scene whose arbitrary, dislocated elements, like the words of the poem, seem uncannily fused as they forcibly impress themselves upon him. By way of approaching such features of modernity and biography in relation to the poem itself and its metre, the next section will examine its relation to other poems from the period, and the sense of lost purpose that was a feature of Hardy’s life in mid-1867, following the poem’s composition.

I A simple enigma hovers over the biographical context for ‘Neutral Tones’. Given its astonishing accomplishment, and the creative breakthrough one can take it to be, why was its composition so closely followed by the author’s return, from London to Dorchester, a return identified by him with the turn to fiction, and the turn away from poetry?14 ‘Neutral Tones’ in this respect can seem to offer a strange, perhaps unfathomable, parting of the ways itself for Hardy the writer. At the risk of overstatement, one could usefully sharpen the point by saying that the poem’s achievement paradoxically signals both Hardy’s arrival as a poet, and his departure. From this viewpoint, the suspensions of feeling in the poem itself appear weirdly bound up with Hardy’s own suspension of creative investment in his first-loved genre. If the poem appears to give voice to a depressed frame of mind, we can note that during ‘the latter part of July (1867)’, as Hardy wrote in the Life (his self-ghosted autobiography), he ‘went down to Dorchester’ for a few weeks (F. E. Hardy, Life, 53–54). He was to find the visit home physically and creatively invigorating, a release, as he put it, from ‘the fitful yet mechanical and monotonous existence that befalls many a young man in London lodgings’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 56). Hardy’s phrasing, with its suitable, faint echoes of Hamlet, is suggestive of those oscillations – between sporadic bursts of excitement, ambition, sociability, or pleasure, and deflated stretches of boredom, melancholy, and self-uncertainty – that seem to have marked out his London youth.15 Certainly, what was increasingly clear by the Dorchester visit of July 1867, was a sense of personal crisis and lapsed

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132 | V OICE purpose (comparable to that experienced by Wordsworth at almost the same age). Hardy’s state of mind had become noticeable to his architect employer, Arthur Blomfield, who was driven to suggest that the young man, increasingly pallid and languorous, ‘should go into the country for a time to regain vigour’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 53). Hardy’s readiness to comply indicates a depression that had crystallized around his exhausting regime of study, and his self-punitive sense that he ‘constitutionally shrank from the business of social advancement’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 53). Privately, one can reflect, according to a long familiar biographical reading, it was not social advancement that was the source of shame for Hardy, but – understandably enough – an acute and defensive sensitivity. His attempts at climbing the social literary ladder might inevitably betray his origins and perceived educational deficiencies, or disclose fantasies of success.16 At the same time, biographers have long factored in the additional possibility of romantic upheaval. As Ralph Pite put it, ‘from the poems’ of 1866–67, ‘it is hard not to suppose that in this year Hardy went through a serious love affair, probably his first’ (Pite, Thomas Hardy, 124). Accordingly, writers on Hardy have sought to excavate an encrypted autobiographical narrative that can seem compellingly buried beneath the recurrent, bitter figurations of broken love, or disappointed infatuation. Like Pite, Michael Millgate and Claire Tomalin have notably given serious, if judicious, credence to the plausible idea that these poems bear out the Nicholls family tradition that Hardy and Eliza Nicholls, a devout lady’s maid working at Westbourne Park Villas, were engaged from 1863, until they broke up finally in 1867.17 Most of the poems of this time turn on an indefinite yet intense romance, and form a definite batch, at the beginning of Wessex Poems. Their personal significance and value for Hardy is discernible in the date carefully appended to each. ‘Amabel’ is dated 1865, while most – ‘Hap’, ‘In Vision I Roamed’, ‘At a Bridal’, ‘Postponement’, ‘A Confession to a Friend in Trouble’, ‘Her Dilemma’, and the four numbered sonnets entitled ‘She, To Him’ are dated 1866. ‘Neutral Tones’, appropriately enough, can seem itself to constitute something of a watershed or parting of the ways, since there are only two further poems in the group, and ‘Her Initials’ is dated 1869, and ‘Revulsion’ is dated, non-specifically, 186–. Each of these, like ‘Neutral Tones’, gives voice to a speaker wearily conscious and pained, at once relieved that he is no longer trammelled by the bonds of a former relationship, but unable to shake off the after-effects of loss. So, the prevailing sentiment of these first poems in ‘Wessex Poems’ (as Tennyson decidedly did not put it) is that it is better never to have

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‘Metre and Context’ | 133 loved at all, than to have loved and lost. The culminating, explicit, statement of this is given in ‘Revulsion’, For winning love we win the risk of losing, And losing love is as one’s life were riven; (Hardy, Complete Poems, 14)

Falling out of love, and what we might now call the fall out of falling out of love – regret, self-excoriation, emptiness, private pain, guilty relief – are indeed so thematically prevalent in this group of poems that it is little surprise that critics have been irresistibly drawn to reading the poems, and ‘Neutral Tones’, above all, as bearing on an actual situation. Their obliquities, and switches of viewpoint, can appear as the marks of an obsessive, private, turmoil and preoccupation. In the words of the speaker of ‘Hap’, these are poems that painfully record ‘love’s loss’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 9). In ‘At a Bridal’, the speaker regrets the impossibility of children with a beloved, now married to another; in ‘Postponement’ an over-sensitive bird, fearful of being ‘twitted’ by others, neglects to build his nest until he has lost her he loves (Hardy, Complete Poems, 10); in ‘A Confession to a Friend in Trouble’, the speaker regrets an anarchic impulse now to recoil in relief when a friend tells of grief. The grouping of these somewhat opaque, reticent, and uneven, but always anguished, poems appears all the more marked in that three other, similarly dated, poems from the period are grouped towards the end of ‘Wessex Poems’ – ‘The Two Men’, ‘Heiress and Architect’, and ‘The Bride-Night Fire’. More narrative and externalized in treatment, these later poems seem different in type. The thematic scope of each is clearly evident, and they lack the mysterious address of the other poems of 1866 or 1867, as well as their sense of an enshrouded personal dimension out of which the poem proceeds. Moreover, the placement of these poems towards the end of the collection only further intrigues the biographer or critic who can observe, contrastingly, the unsparing interior focus of the former group, and their dominant, recurrent themes. By a compatible logic of separation, the final poem in the earlier section, ‘Ditty’, marks a definite shift of mood and mode. Now, the woman in the poem is explicitly identified as Emma, by the initials (E. L. G.) placed beneath the title. Dated 1870, its speaker devotedly ponders the transfiguring romance attached to the stone walls of what is explicitly Emma’s house. It clearly offers a riposte to ‘Her Initials’ from the previous year which, contrarily, had pored over the draining away of feeling, the transfiguring glow, with which a lover’s initials had been invested,

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134 | V OICE But from the letters of her name The radiance has waned away! (Hardy, Complete Poems, 13)

What remains indisputable is that Hardy’s retreat from the confining and dispiriting existence in the city became identified with the turn to fiction. The return to Dorchester, as he represents it in the Life, was a modest epiphany, a taking stock that led him to the resolution that, as a writer he would henceforth become ‘more practical’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 56). It led, also, to the revelation that his own social dislocations provided him with a unique opportunity, hitherto ungrasped. He was one who ‘knew fairly well both West-country life in its less explored recesses and the life of an isolated student cast upon the billows of London with no protection but his brains’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 56). He would now write out of his sense of social dislocation, which would provide him with an inspiration rather than a predicament. Like Jude (embarking for Christminster as the epigraph to Part Two of Jude the Obscure has it), Hardy was newly buoyed up, as the Life’s narrator puts it, by the bracing perception that ‘save his own soul he hath no star’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 56). The Swinburne quotation evokes not only the young man’s sensibility, but also suggests, by association, something of the iconoclastic tendencies of this first, lost, and rejected novel, The Poor Man and the Lady. However, Hardy’s uplifting, zealous, dedication to fiction was, of course, like Jude’s aspirations, initially to founder (ironically enough), as the young novelist was rebuffed by Macmillan and Chapman and Hall.

II Arguably, the compelling nature of the biographical context for ‘Neutral Tones’ derives in a large part from the suggestive nature of the poem itself, its formal means so distinctive and concerted, its possibilities for reading so manifold.18 Here is the poem in full, with my notations: NEUTRAL TONES

o B –o– B o B o B We stood by a pond that winter day, -oB o B -o – b o o B And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, -o- B ô B ô B -o- B o B And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;

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‘Metre and Context’ | 135 -oB -oB O O B – They had fallen from an ash, and were gray. O B o B -oB o B Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove -o- B o B -oB ob Over tedious riddles of years ago; O B o B o B o b o b And some words played between us to and fro O B -oB o o B On which lost the more by our love.

o B -o- B o O B o B The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing o B o b -o- B o B Alive enough to have strength to die; -o- B o B -oB o b And a grin of bitterness swept thereby -o- B -o- B o B Like an ominous bird a-wing. . . . o B o B -oB o B Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, O B o B o B o B And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me O B -oB ô B ô B -o- B Your face, and the God – curst sun, and a tree, -o- B ô B o B o B And a pond edged with grayish leaves. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 12) 1867

Beginning with general features of the speaker’s tone, the disintegrative logic of scene and subjectivity is replicated at the level of address in many ways. Rueful, the speaker returns in memory to a former scene of recrimination and regret. In doing so, his mind loops recursively, like the bird of bad omen, replaying, without clear reason, a scene of parting that he cannot imaginatively depart, and that threatens pointlessly to consume, even enthral, him. In doing so, pain is ultimately compounded. Unavailing and wasteful, dialogue has not so much ended as been transposed, internalized within the ruminative space of consciousness itself. Hence, there are the subtle

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136 | V OICE overtones of exasperation, as well as the strange bitter masochism, that surface as a matter of tone, projecting a speaker incapacitated by his own self-division, and animated only by contemplation of his own inanition. At the far edge of the speaker’s quiescent sense of sadness, is the sense that he grates on himself, that memory has been, ‘since then’, his fate. The double-bind of lovers who felt powerless to leave or communicate has become a tireless, insomniac’s fascination that replicates exasperating, yet interminable, qualities of the previous situation. These are lovers, as Pite says, ‘abandoned by love’ (Pite, Hardy, 165), but the speaker has not been abandoned by the scene of parting that endlessly revisits him. My main focus, metrically speaking, is on how Hardy develops in each stanza particular rhythmical motifs that ring the changes on a general metrical principle, whereby a certain local, residual influx of vitality collapses within the prevailing entropy. So, to take an example, a key effect of contraction is notable throughout the poem, as language and metre conspire to convey the sense of lines of thought trailing off inconsequentially, often with the dead-end of a poetic line. In stanza one, this is markedly apparent in lines two and four, where, underscored by the medial comma, there is a marked deceleration of tempo. In each case, the speaker retreats into meditative afterthought – in the first, into musing (‘as though chidden of God’), and, in the second, into an arrested notation of incidentals where the word ‘fallen’ collapses or contracts – appropriately enough – into a monosyllable amid the prevailing singleness (‘they had fallen from an ash, and were gray’). Metrically, in these two lines, the prevalent pattern would ordinarily be said to be ‘anapaestic’ (where two unstressed syllables are followed by a beat). Carper and Attridge’s scheme offers, however, a much more appropriate subtlety of metrical description. On the one hand, there are the double off-beat / beat forms where a certain vigour, even lilt, momentarily inhabits the rhythm, and these could uncomplicatedly be called anapaestic (And the sun . . . as though chid, They had fallen [fall’n] from an ash). On the other hand, the ends of the lines are much more deliberate, and halting, concluding with off-beats that stand out from each other, in separation, before the line itself terminates with a final emphatic, end-stopped syllable. These feet are given in bold, -oB o B -o- b o o B And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, -oB -oB O O B – They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

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‘Metre and Context’ | 137 An initial anapaestic fluency, then, associated with the outward details of sun and scene, here yields to a desultory remarking, the metre assisting our inhabiting of a mind that interrupts its engagements, and turns in on itself as it ponders again, with failing energy, the signs of a world of decay, abandoned by God. So too, these features of metre contribute to the temporal and other complexities of subjectivity in this stanza. The faltering rhythm helps develop the sense that the speaker who remembers the former incident is also one whose actual experience of the scene – at that former time – also involved a dissociation from it, a splitting of the self who perceived from the self who found in the scene indices of his baffled distress. The slowing rendition of detail in the stanza, for instance, conveys the former experience – a mind that felt itself captivated by the pale sun, and the colour and provenance of the leaves. As in a moment of trauma, these elements took on a hallucinatory reality, as time expanded and slowed. The metre transmits this sense of dilation, of sensation becoming memory, of details slowly imprinting themselves on his mind, as if on a mid-century photographic plate, -o- B -oB O O B – They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

As another marker of this, as suggested, the entropic rhythm here is so captivating that the reader unquestioningly will look to collapse the word ‘fallen’ and voice it as a single syllable. In such ways, the mechanical tone of he who remembers the scene, at a later time, is internally related to the mesmerized automatism of he whose perceptual and affective functioning had been overtaken by it at that earlier moment. Again, the hesitancy of the rhythmical pattern in this line, whereby ponderously emphasized off-beats succeed each other (and – were – gray), helps convey this sense of a world where everything has become removed from a vital context, given over only to a pronounced sense of duration. The later remembering, then, repeats an earlier event that was itself internally configured in important part as a memory, and which was itself also essentially bound up with its own past, the two former lovers having met to negotiate the termination, and moral settlement, of their own soured relationship.19 Turning to the second stanza, the sense of inconsequentiality and lost interchange recurs in terms of recriminatory or sardonic speech, an inversion of lover’s dialogue. Words have no power to bind or to illuminate, but are merely tediously pushed to and fro. The poem’s structure in this respect reminds one of other famous four-stanza

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138 | V OICE poems by Hardy that scope the outer and inner worlds of loss: poems like ‘After a Journey’, or ‘The Voice’, where the last stanza of the poem also recapitulates an earlier scene, now explicitly under the rubric of memory. In those poems too, the intervening stanzas interpolate a face to face, a remembered conversation and scene that serves only rendingly to emphasize the lost possibility of dialogue. In ‘Neutral Tones’, though, even in the past scene itself there were only the remnants of love – stray phenomena of face and dress, and stray words, turned over by the captive mind as absent-mindedly as a foot in such a situation might distractedly, bemusedly, turn over leaves. The pair feel both that they have wasted time, and that they are wasting time, a compound feeling that surfaces in the newly dynamic verbs in the second stanza. These verbs – ‘rove’, ‘played’, and ‘lost’ – convey this sense of pointless activity, and contrast with the inert stative (‘stood’ and ‘lay’), or passive (‘had fallen’), or copula (‘was’, ‘were’) verb forms that had predominated in the first stanza. So, though process is newly evident in this stanza, in the exchange and play of glances, minds, and words, it is an activity of an ironic, fruitless, kind: O B o B -oB o B Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove -o- B o B -oB ob Over tedious riddles of years ago; O B o B o B o b o b And some words played between us to and fro O B -oB o o B On which lost the more by our love.

Again, I would wish to stress the importance here of emphasized offbeats that effectively suspend the rhythm. The crucial difference here, though, is that these are now evident at the beginning, rather than the ending, of lines, with a subtle appropriateness. So the opening monosyllables in lines two, three, and four are in fact unstressed, though they are emphasized, with the effect that the speaker lingers or hovers over ‘Your’, ‘And’, and ‘On’. Like eyes that rove, or words that play between, or minds that puzzle, these words introduce a mild, but noticeable, pausing that appears the mark of a fitful mind, involuntarily and indefinitely distracted by what appears intractable, though inconsequential. Impressions and words, like sounds here, will not resolve or issue productively. In the third line, the prolonged, five-beat line – ending with two rhythmically promoted monosyllables in the clichéd ‘to and fro’ – enacts metrically merely the desultory and point-

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‘Metre and Context’ | 139 less, unmeaning, protraction of words that is the fruitless conversation of the couple. O B o B o B o b o b And some words played between us to and fro -

Nothing coheres into agreement or clarity of meaning in this stanza, then, though the language thus enacts, as well as describes, the now unmeaning connection between the pair, drawing the reader into their tableau of dissatisfaction. In taking on rhythmical prominence, as indicated, prepositions and conjunctions (‘on’, ‘over’, ‘And’, ‘Between’, ‘to and fro’, ‘On’, ‘by’) become both important and mysterious. For Hardy’s readers and critics, these prepositions have often provided hitching posts, cruxes of reading, where residual or ghostly possibilities hover uncertainly and distractingly in the reader’s mind. Most celebratedly, as many discussions of the poem would bear out, the word ‘On’, similarly stalls the reader again in the final line, so that one has to back-track and work to construe the phrase as (‘On [the topic] which lost the more by our love’).20 A less noticeable, but equally interesting and complementary, case is the use of the same word, ‘on’, in the opening line of the stanza (‘Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove’). To say that someone has their eyes on something or someone is an idiom, inappropriate here, which suggests primarily either the desire to possess (‘have your eye on’) or else to control another person (‘keep your eye on’). For the pair, though, the bewildering question is how one’s eyes can be so intently on someone, when the desires to have or to hold are defunct. Once again, metre is importantly effective throughout this stanza, here in developing the stanza’s sense of a fruitless interplay of glances, and words. The sense of failing dialogue returns in stanza three. Again, an anapaestic motif recurs, only repeatedly to come to grief. Here it occurs with the emphatic iambic foot at the line’s end, in the following marked pattern: -o- B / o B. Thus, each line itself ominously swoops from an anapaestic glide to a hammering dead-end, an iteration that formalizes the recurrent sense of disappointment and exhaustion: ‘was the deadest thing’, ‘to have strength to die’, ‘[bi-] terness swept thereby’, ‘[om]inous bird a-wing’, o B -o- B -oB o B The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing oB o b -o- B o B Alive enough to have strength to die;

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140 | V OICE -o- B o B -oB o b And a grin of bitterness swept thereby -o- B -oB o B Like an ominous bird a-wing. . . .

The disintegrative, interpersonal logic of the stanza is clearly evident again at the semantic level with the preposition ‘on’. In the reader’s mind the word generates interminable and tedious riddles of its own. The phrase, ‘[t]he smile on your mouth’, like that of Lewis Caroll’s cat, gathers haunting figurative suggestions of a facial expression that can somehow detach itself. The ontological paradoxes that play around this idea are in turn compounded by further ones – firstly, by the associated Nietzschean notion, further, of something that has only enough strength and life to die, and secondly, by the simile that subsequently links a grin of bitterness to a bird of bad omen. The reader is confronted by words that appear about to take flight themselves from customary uses, associations, and meanings. However, such flights appear themselves here ominous, grim, and unsustainable. Within the formal, metrical and semantic framings of the passage, language appears fated to its own bitter kinds of defeat. The final stanza, then. o B o B o O B o B Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, O B o B o B o B And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me O B -o- B ô B ôB -o- B Your face, and the God – curst sun, and a tree, -o- B ô B o B o B And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

The phrase ‘Since then’ applies to time, but, as with the final turn of a sonnet, there is also a sense of inferences, here drawn from bitter experience. The mind has been driven to parse the feeling that subjects it, to undergo a painful apprenticeship. Linda Shires’s reading of the last stanza turns on how the ‘fall from idealism to realism’ is replicated in the ambiguities of key words that refer to the loss of illusions. The word, ‘keen’, she writes, suggests both sharp pain, and yet also, that more familiar, earlier, meaning of eagerness, now bitterly out of place. Again, she has it that ‘wrings’, by enclosing the homonym, ‘rings’, can even suggest the now incongruous, possibly superseded, associations and projections of an engagement, as well as the encompassing sense of disappointment here, the presumably heart-wringing ‘mood of

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‘Metre and Context’ | 141 gloominess and deadness ringing them round’. Finally, she points out that ‘wrong’ can suggests both untruth, and injury (Shires, ‘Hardy and Nineteenth-Century Poetry’, 262). For Shires, then, such doubling of words, whereby they envelop further, often ironic, meanings and contexts, provides a further lexical analogue for the speaker’s own temporal dislocation, the sense that Hardy was already, in his mid-twenties, a ‘time-torn man’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 99). A typically Hardeyan, contorted phrase like ‘wrings with wrong’, for instance, reprises in various ways, as sound, the repetition-with-a-difference that is the ironic template for experience in the poem. Expressive formal disjunctions are evident too, for instance, in the interruptive punctuation of this last stanza – the endstopping, the frequent commas, and the dramatic dash in line three. Such features convey affective torsions given metrically in such features as the emphasized off-beats at the beginning of lines two and three (‘And’, ‘Your’). These emphasized off-beats are themselves neutral tones, as it were, mid-way between being stressed and unstressed, and creating a deliberative pausing prior to the full stress on ‘wrings’ and ‘face’. In all these aspects, the language conveys a mind musing on the painful process it has undergone, and subject to temporal and affective dislocation, anachronistically pinned down, like the elements of the scene, between past and future. Again, this emphatic sense that the speaker’s mind is still hostage to the incursions of feelings and images from the past is metrically underscored by the crushing and bitterly sardonic inflection demanded by the tripling and doubling of successive stresses (God-curst sun, pond edged). Through such features of metre and intonation, then, Hardy’s poem occupies the situation of a mind thrown in on itself, and suffering a critical sense of lost intimacy, and self-opacity. The speaker’s experience of a divided sense of relation to self, others, his world, and his words surfaces in the incidental syncopations, influxes, failings and dead spots of rhythm. The mesmerizing appropriateness of the poem’s verbal means, and its seeming to offer a peculiarly telling scene of inspiration, makes ‘Neutral Tones’ bear comparison with such a scene as that of the child Wordsworth, lost on Penrith beacon in The Prelude. The boy, in a scene associated with death and isolation, observes a woman making her difficult and solitary way against the wind with the pitcher of water. Written in Goslar when Wordsworth was almost the same age, that passage appears, like ‘Neutral Tones’ to plumb the depths of a writer’s mind and inspiration, surprising the poet with a new revelation of poetic powers founded in distress, finitude, and loss. In itself, the passage’s recapitulations and reiterative formal features share, like ‘Neutral Tones’, the sense of a writer’s mind, gripped by the

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142 | V OICE speaker’s enigmatic sense that the scene of estrangement continues, in poetry and memory, still to address him, like an obscure and ominous hieroglyph he must struggle to construe. In the Hardy case, though, the poem voices, and meditates on, a more unrelieved and pessimistic sense of belatedness, figuring a world deprived for the present of intimations of renewal, and restored connection.

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CHAPTER

7

‘Metre and Mourning’ “The Going” and Poems of 1912–13

Writing to Edward Clodd after Emma’s death, Hardy confided: ‘Yes, what you say is true. One forgets all the recent years & differences & the mind goes back to the early times when each was much to the other – in her case & mine intensely much’.1 The changes in tone recall the emotional tension that continually emerges in the voice of Poems of 1912–13. Hardy’s words – initially stoical – collapse inwards, and the final appended phrase suggests to Clodd how the remembered intimacy now privately harrows him (‘in her case & mine intensely much’). This chapter explores how the shifts of tone and perspective in the poems similarly convey the radically disjunctive nature of bereavement. One moment the speaker is downcast and inwardly ruminating on his sense of present loss, the next he is drawn to reminisce, and open to the alluring or tormenting visitations of the past that draw him back to a time when the future beckoned, and his words could voice intimacy. Specifically, my focus will be on how extensively Hardy uses metre as the expressive vehicle for such vocal and affective divisions. In so doing, I will concentrate on ‘The Going’, the inaugural poem in the collection. I take this poem to exemplify the ways in which so many of the main features of the collection’s explorations of self, love, and time are readable through a close study of the poem’s internal drama of rhythm and the voice. To take an obvious example, consider the wrenching intensity of the opening stanzas of ‘After a Journey’: Where you will next be there’s no knowing,

The unpredictable metrical beats (in bold) convey the speaker’s subjection, as he waits in desperate unknowing for the revitalizing flashes of memory. The line tails off with the flat reiteration of ‘no knowing’. The unstressed feminine ending momentarily leaves the

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144 | V OICE reader in limbo, scanning the space between the lines. Then, the word ‘facing’, with insurgent stress on the first syllable of the line, surprises speaker and reader alike: Facing round about me everywhere, With your nut-coloured hair, And gray eyes, and rose-flush coming and going. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 349).

The material of the language is here transfigured as the past inundates the present: her ghost, with her rose-flush coming and going, possesses the turbulent rhythm of the lines, and the words recover the corporeal expressivity of her vivid youth, when she held the romantic initiative. The physicality and romance of this recovered scene are inseparable from the now invigorating rhythm as the speaker, hitherto hollowedout and detained by loss, finds himself ambushed by the influx of time past. Before he wrote ‘After a Journey’ Hardy presumably went back to Pentargan Bay, the scene of the poem, in order to try and recover the sensations and images of his youthful courtship with Emma. However, what the verse and rhythm show is how little it is within his conscious control to summon her or revive the past. He is wholly subject to the unaccountable, capricious visitations of Emma’s ghost, which brings him here again, as he acknowledges. For such flashing instants, he is drawn to her gray eyes, as she moves around in front of him, facing him ‘everywhere’, and perhaps now outfacing him too. And yet for such fugitive instants also, reciprocally, he is incarnated as the young man again, facing her. Metre is an indispensable part of the intimacy and modernity of Hardy’s poetic vision in such ways, as the poetry opens and closes without resolution between the different, incommensurable dimensions of past and present. For the reader too, it is the privileged vehicle by which we inhabit the dynamics of this disconnected and unsecured subjectivity as it confronts time, and its innate contingency, desire, and subjection. In the process, metre reveals also how entwined is the philosophical reach of Hardy’s work with his literary innovation. The larger argument of this book is that his originality as a writer is inseparable from the ways that the material enactments of his language shape his rigorous, wide-ranging ruminations on temporality, self and consciousness. So, in this example, we have seen it irresistibly transmits and expresses what the speaker also insists on: that he has not so much revisited the scenes of the past, as entered a place where the past can revisit him, and astonish his mind with its singular force and incur-

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 145 sive reality. Once again, in acknowledging the modernity of Hardy’s writing in these respects, one can observe how these features of ‘After a Journey’ inevitably provoke comparison with Proust’s scenes of involuntary memory, in the great work that the French admirer of Hardy will begin to publish in 1913. Perhaps because of its apparent inspiration, Poems of 1912–13 is often described as an outpouring of grief. Nonetheless, it is a major paradox that so much poetic inspiration came out of a personal predicament of dispirited inexpression and loss. One can identify the generative ratio of these poems with their transformation of the grinding daily round of grief into an art that is expansive and expressive. But it is worth describing this a little further. Every reader of Hardy knows that irony was always his stock in trade. Yet I have been suggesting that an essential part of the singularity and power of this collection derives from the particular way it not only intensifies and ratchets up the ironies and discordances, but locates them within the speaking voice. That is to say, in this collection the speaker does not simply preside ruminatively and ruefully over his words, as Hardy customarily does. Instead, the speaker appears at stake within them, his subjectivity twisted and torn by loss, solipsism, and powerlessness. This raises the vexed question of the autobiographical aspect of Poems of 1912–13 (and even Hardy’s motivation in writing the poems), which is the topic of the following section. Perhaps the best way of approaching this in terms of the subjectivity within the poems is to describe a little more closely how they fundamentally express the self as a divided system, the speaker’s experience configured over and again as a ramifying, intersecting series of contradictions and doublebinds. For example, in ‘The Going’ one swiftly comes to an awareness of the speaker’s urgent desire to speak, to renew conversation with his dead wife in and through the poem. However, at the same time we glean that this desire is itself an outcome of his tortured awareness of the lost opportunity of this marriage in which conversation was refused. Which is to say that one quickly surmises, as biography shows, that the marital situation came increasingly to be one of failed conversation and tense silence, and an implacable daily shunning of each by the other. This ironic commitment to a communication that was denied in life runs like a thread through the collection from this first poem where we realize the coiled complexities that inflect his words: first, the sharp, remorseful sense that when the couple could most have spoken to each other they implacably chose not to, and second, the desolating recognition that now he must speak with her, but it is impossible. Thus, for example, his direct address to Emma in ‘The Going’, ‘The

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146 | V OICE Voice’, or ‘After a Journey’ appears haunted by this recoiling sense of a strange, awfully appropriate kind of poetic justice, where the daily avoidance of speech in marriage has generated this impossible, unappeasable desire to converse. The diabolic irony that braces his words, and divides the stanzas, is that the impossibility of speech is a replication, even consummation, of the wilful estrangements of the marriage. The empirical refusal of speech in marriage has found its dismal fulfilment in the metaphysical denial of voice in death. Thus the distinctive and manifold tensions of the speaker’s predicament is evident in the radical oscillations of structure and tone in the poems, as verses abruptly lurch between past and present while the stricken voice projects itself across a blank void to Emma. Further, the irony by which death replicates the complex patterns of marital exclusion or avoidance breeds other, ramifying, ironies that affect the subjectivity of the speaker in the poem. He is condemned to a limbo of regret, addressing the phantom voice or figure who (he wishfully imagines) is summoning him to answer. But in her actual absence, his voice lives on ironically as a kind of phantom, his words an emanation of someone who feels himself no longer fully alive, nor yet dead. Within the emotional scenario itself there is the further important ironic twist too, since it is noticeable and striking that within the poems love and marriage are never represented as having coincided. There are for instance no joyous depictions of youthful marriage, or of a wedding. Rather love appears either as the future, expansive hope of ardent courtship, or as the hopelessly belated, self-excoriating passion of bereavement. So the poet’s current desire to speak to Emma projects him either into the phantasmatic limbo of her absence, or back before the marriage when there was a face to face before them. One can develop this latter perception by noting also that it is a further important part of the magic of their courtship as represented in the poems that Emma herself is associated with the lure and glamour of a world that attracts rather than includes him. In the poems, she is figuratively associated with Cornwall, as its presiding spirit, but Hardy exists on the threshold of this world, as a passive figure, whose ardour is always mixed with anxiety, even as she turns to him. Mutuality, responsiveness, and expressivity are repeatedly represented and imagined as if they were tantalizingly within her gift. He represents himself as someone who observes rather than claims her, as if perpetually waiting for her to speak, and to renew his world. Clearly then (according to the kind of interpersonal logic I am teasing out) one can read his current situation, where he feels his identity at stake in his pursuit of her, as the fullest – if most ironic – fulfilment of this affective pattern. In the present as in the past, passion was driven by the

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 147 fear that one might be excluded from the world of the beloved. Now he pursues Emma again, and though she is a ghost, he feels himself once again at her disposal, paradoxically as if it is only she who might reinvigorate him once more and return him to the land of the living. Turning to the poems themselves then, in what ways might we identify them with the speaker’s need to communicate, and escape from the prison of grief, and the ironic double binds of his situation? An important part of the answer is found in the internal logic of the poems, in that each proceeds from some datum of purely private experience that threatens to become radically privative unless it can be turned outwards into words. Over and again, a poem shapes itself as a subjective response to some mundane, yet haunting and divisive, pretext. It is as if each poem sets out to unravel a painful knot in the speaker’s soul, to alleviate an obsessional thought, or intense impression that holds him in thrall: she left without saying goodbye; he did not bury her near the sea; the water falls unchecked on her grave; the room will be empty on his return from his walk; the whistling north wind makes him fancy he hears her voice; he returns to a place they visited together, tantalized by the unaccountable visitations of the past; an uphill stretch of road makes him remember a conversation many years ago in ‘dry March weather’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 351). In the case of ‘The Going’ this is all heightened by the encompassing fact we have already touched on. His speech is perpetually divided by the fateful irony that his words are now unavailing, that they are both endlessly provoked and endlessly refused by Emma’s final obliviousness. The see-sawing rhythms of the poem’s speech and larger structure convey both these things: his sudden, irrepressible starts of passionate address, and his relapses into drained, stalled, hopelessness.2 But specifically, as the title of ‘The Going’ suggests, it is the suddenness of the situation from which he writes that is important. His words register his sense that he has to respond to a new situation, one in which he feels himself bereft or abandoned. At the same time, the poem’s title also refers to an essential metaphor, even a fantasy, that underlies the poem, and from which it unfolds. This is the idea not of Emma’s death, but of her abrupt ‘going’. The trope introduces Emma’s personality, since as Rosemarie Morgan observes, Emma was given to sudden departures, and it was her ‘habit of upping and leaving without warning’.3 In such ways, the speaker’s figure of speech strikes this note of intimate recognition, as in ‘Lament’: ‘How she would have loved / A party to-day!’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 344) Yet unsurprisingly perhaps, this trope of departure and personality contains its own coiled ironies, as indicated by the speaker’s attitude and tone of bewildered astonishment. His words betray someone

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148 | V OICE struck and taken aback by something newly business-like and independent about his wife’s final departure. It is as if she has finally become herself in some new way that has allowed her to turn the tables on him. So, by a strange chiasmus, the pair have now also exchanged places. He is no longer in the ascendency, and is now the one forsaken. This shock surfaces in the tones of his speech – by turns peremptory, insistent, and reproachful, as well as fervent. He desperately wants to converse with his departed wife, to redeem the past. However, he also wants to close up conversation on his own terms: perhaps even to be the one who has the last word, so as no longer to be the one hanging. To the fantasy of her going thus is added the fantasy of Emma as manifesting in death a new and strange self-possession. Hardy’s words convey his feeling that in death she is not only going, but leaving, and leaving him. In this aspect, marital conversation also reveals its underside of marital contestation, and the commonplace cruelty of marriage where the power to propose can sour into the power to dispose. Now, she turns back on him all the power-play of the marriage that we can surmise from the poem: the daily indifference and avoidance, the wilful extinction of conversation, the desire for the upper hand.

I On the morning of 27th November 1912, Hardy was told by Dolly, Emma’s maid that her mistress’s situation had unexpectedly worsened: Hastening to her he was shocked to find her much worse, lying with her eyes closed and unconscious. The doctor came quite quickly, but before he arrived her breathing softened and ceased. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 360)

This is notably different from the situation in the poem, where Emma’s ‘great going’ happens unnoticed. Nonetheless, the idea of softening – here implying Hardy’s solicitous attentions and her breathing – will surface in the poem, in the spoken fantasy that she might have bid him ‘good-bye’ or lipped him ‘the softest call’ before departing, and the unspoken fantasy that he might have responded to this address. Of course the obvious power of these fantasies is that such a final exchange might have been a moment of mutual acknowledgement and offered some small, but final, redemption for a marriage that had been marked by mutual withdrawal. Kerry McSweeney writes of the growing estrangement by which an early ‘fissure . . . had become a chasm’ by the time of the death,4 and offers a dismal sketch of Emma’s

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 149 desperation and acting out – her increasingly independent social life; her Hardy-fuelled feminism; her religiosity; her unstable, paranoiac tendencies; and her eccentricities of dress. Millgate has pointed out that Hardy never said a word against Emma, but no-one needs telling words were a currency in short supply between the pair. Emma took over her two upstairs attic rooms by the end of the century, writing to Rebekah Owen in 1899 that ‘My boudoir is my sweet refuge & solace – not a sound scarcely penetrates hither [sic]’.5 Nearer to the time of her death, the Hardys trialled a kind of separation within the marriage, though with sad and mixed results: ‘And while the programme of keeping apart, suggested by Emma, embraced by Hardy, made for a reduction in day-to-day tensions, it also entrenched their basic differences to the point at which they finally stopped listening to each other’ (Millgate, Hardy, 482). Accounts of the time leading up to Emma’s death are full of fascinating, if crushing, images of marital dysfunction and excruciating pain or embarrassment. In September 1912, Edmund Gosse came with Arthur Benson who waspishly sketched the visit with a vividness both unforgettable and cruel. Max Gate, he wrote, was ‘like a house wrapped up and put away in a box’. In fact, Benson and Gosse perhaps makes it seem more like the marital home was a series of nested Chinese boxes. The house, Gosse said, was itself veiled by its ‘extensive leafage’, a fact that led him to surmise in turn about how this environment might have contributed to depression and withdrawal, the draining of vitality, that he ascribed to Hardy, who appeared ‘pallid and bloodless’, remote and ‘far away’, someone afflicted ‘not from age so much as an excess of introspection’. Benson, less constrained, observed with apparent relish that the couple, ‘don’t get on together at all’ and were ‘not agreeable’ to each other. Emma was ‘crazy and fantastic’. This last phrase suggests that Emma was divided from her world both outwardly and inwardly, since she struck Benson, as she struck others, as if she were already a kind of phantasmal apparition, while mentally she struck him too as someone whose mind was consumed by irreality, of a possibly pathological kind: ‘She is so queer, and yet has to be treated as rational’. Yet it is noticeable how eager Benson appears to box Emma up within his own summary adjudication, as he describes what he himself imagines as her shadowy inner world of resentment, hallucination, and irrationality: ‘she is full, I imagine, of suspicions and jealousies and affronts which must be half insane’ (Pite, Hardy, 410–11). About Hardy, he concluded in a similarly antipathetic vein, there was ‘something secret and inscrutable’,6 and Michael Millgate cites Benson’s perception that there was “‘something intolerable’ in the thought of the ‘old rhapsodist’ having to live

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150 | V OICE day & night with the absurd, inconsequent, puffy, rambling old lady’” (Millgate, Hardy, 482). Sadly it is not difficult to find similar responses to the marital world of Max Gate. Slightly earlier, in July, the Hardys were visited by two other eminent literary figures – Sir Henry Newbolt and W. B. Yeats – who lunched with them before presenting him with the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature. Newbolt, echoing Gosse, described the author as ‘an exquisitely remote figure’. After the meal Emma allowed Gosse to persuade her to attempt to smoke, which she gamely did, though Hardy ‘looked at her […] fiercely and scornfully’. One can only imagine what her feelings might have been. The meal was ‘unusual and anxious’, its surreal air heightened by the cats that sat on each side of Emma’s plate. Yeats sat next to Emma, appearing like ‘an Eastern Magician overpowered by a Northern Witch’. As if overcome by her spell or the dissociative effect of Max Gate, Newbolt memorably concluded that ‘We were no longer in the world of our waking lives’ (Pite, Hardy, 412). In an exquisitely pitiable finale, when the moment came for the brief ceremony, Hardy successfully insisted – against Emma’s initial appeals and those of their guests – that she now physically withdraw from the room. This domestic reality clearly appears intractable and crushing in its levels of mutual estrangement and self-protectiveness, of unfeelingness and heightened sensitivity. Expression and inexpression appear again the twin, irreconcilable poles of this world, since one has the bewildering impression by turns that nothing is knowable and everyone is inscrutable; or contrarily, that everything is so obvious and poignant as to go without saying. But the consequence of the intractable fact of Emma’s death, as has been suggested, is fundamentally to reconfigure this marital condition within the speaker’s poetic subjectivity as an inalienable, intensive, and self-divided privacy. Linda M. Shires gives the link a metaphysical twist in suggesting how Emma’s loss deprives the speaker of his world, as well as his own subjective stability. Grief becomes a radically alienating dissociation, of a kind that she sees as marking the poem’s language and scenes, and shaping its irreducible divisions and its resistance to merely aesthetic contemplation, biographical reading, or therapeutic teleology: As poem after poem in the sequence shows, the scene, whether the alley of bending boughs at Max Gate or Beeny Cliff, can neither be ordinary again […] nor can the scene ever be the same as it was with the beloved’s presence in it, whether when she was a girl or a woman or a corpse.7

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 151 But bereavement, we have suggested, leaves him also bereft of himself too, as if Emma’s going from the world has reciprocally left him immaterial or apparitional. Death creates a state of inexpression in which his sense of self, time, and materiality are all dislocated. He is subject to the hauntings of the past, while he also feels himself haunting the present and the old locations like a ghost. If it seems I am protracting the point, it is to come to this emphasis: that Hardy’s state of inexpression in the poems manifests itself in two importantly contrary ways: first, he is no longer constituted materially as a presence or voice that could commune with her, his words falling into an abyss; secondly and contrarily, he is a purely material presence, now voided of spirit, like a corpse, a dead man held on end, a remnant of a former time. Returning to the context of Hardy’s career as a poet, what is sui generis about Poems of 1912–13 is that irony is not simply the perspective that the speaker controls so much as a consuming personal predicament that now controls him, and grips his rent and riven voice. So what further can one say about the autobiographical, even therapeutic or ethical, dimension in these poems? Centrally, one needs to acknowledge that it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to separate the intensity of the poems from a personal intention. Anyone who has taught or discussed Poems of 1912–13 knows – often dismayingly – how naturally readers will take the poems as transfixing, more or less unmediated, confessions of marital regret and grief, or else perhaps as unavailing solipsistic attempts at self-extenuation. This of course can be somewhat confounding for academic readers, schooled in all the usual critical caveats and academic protocols. After all, students have long been taught to feel that their expert status is bound up with the exemption of any easy identification of poet and speaker, and even that such a connection is ruled out tout court, as a theoretical faux pas of the kind that betrays the naïve reader. However (and it is a big ‘however’), can the poems be read at all in any meaningful way if we separate the voice in the poem from the grieving individual of the winter of 1912–13? Certainly, most critics necessarily end up in practice respecting and depending on the connection. To take a representative example, Ralph Pite reads the collection as a whole as a quasi-therapeutic work of mourning. He claims that in Poems of 1912–13: Grief involves putting an end to grief […] Hardy’s poems move from inertia towards the moment when he can definitively accept and regain the past through writing poems that celebrated Emma and

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152 | V OICE Hardy’s love for her […] the sequence is psychologically acute about the grieving process. (Pite, Hardy, 416)

In this respect, Pite can be identified with a critical tradition that sees the collection as comparable to Tennyson’s In Memoriam (or even Patmore’s To the Unknown Eros), in enacting a sequential process or narrative of mourning that works through grief towards an eventual resolution, or at least accommodation, with loss.8 It is an obvious irony that loss should inspire poets such as these to such eloquence, but this can conceal another, more important irony. Such a poet, as Tennyson put it, was one who felt compelled to sing. But this was because his lyricism here was bound up with the desire to have done with words, to supersede grief by expressing it: I do but sing because I must, And pipe but as the linnets sing: (Tennyson, In Memoriam, XXI) 9

In a similar vein, Tim Dolin claims that Hardy is exceptionally forging in Poems of 1912–13 ‘a lyric of self-exposure’.10 In some ways one might quibble over the idea of self-exposure, since Hardy is not a poet given to obvious or confessional kinds of self-disclosure. However, I take Dolin importantly to be indicating how uniquely driven the collection is by the need for personal expression, and how inevitable some notion of the therapeutic is in our understanding of the internal logic of these poems, as they set out to use speech to liberate the self from the burden of what is otherwise unvoiced. Norman Page remarked that for Hardy, ‘solipsism is not far away’ (Page, ‘Art and Aesthetics’, 38), and certainly many recent critics have valuably emphasized the sense of a poet struggling against, and to get beyond, a condition of radical privacy. At this point one can relate the internal divisions and isolation of Hardy’s grieving subjectivity in the poems to the internal, dysfunctional logic of bereavement which always veers and lurches between incommensurable dimensions: the fictive and the factual; the past and the present; memory, fantasy and reality . . . Hence, it is notable that Hardy chose to introduce Poems of 1912–13 with a poem that takes the form of a marital conversation – albeit one in which the addressee is irrevocably absent, and in which the speaker’s outgoing words inevitably fall back into futility and impossibility, before venturing forth again. Such ironies continue to grip his words and to configure his bereavement throughout the collection. With these features of Hardy’s divided subjectivity in mind, it is

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 153 notable that many of the most searching recent critical accounts of Hardy’s poetry, particularly of these poems, have turned on issues of subjective dissociation, described in terms of solipsism, scepticism, or melancholia. So Susan M. Miller and Marion Thain share Thain’s premise that Hardy’s ‘solitary voice seems to signal to a skepticism’.11 However, where Thain follows Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology in taking sensations of touch as Hardy’s bulwark against the dubieties of vision and interiority, Miller identifies the necessary philosophical foundation with the poetic structure itself, which expressively and reflexively accommodates the disunities of lived subjectivity in a unity beyond lived experience. 12 Rather differently, Linda M. Austin reads the poems according to a Lacanian model that identifies them with a depressive melancholia resistant to redemptive or therapeutic reading. Grief is an allotrope of the transcendental structure of desire, interminably and elegiacally pursuing chimerae constitutive of the failing self: Nature does not return Emma in any form, and language does not invest any new object with the solace of novelty and recollection. Poems of 1912–13 are about nothing but sorrow.13

A further important irony here is that such attempts to dissolve away the scepticism merely confirm its dissociative problematic, in so far as they offer impossibly unified solutions that are quasi-axiomatic, and proof to contingencies and lived experience. So, rather than seeing these poems as disposing of scepticism in such ways, it is important to see them as manifesting something closer to an exploration of its divisions, or a living of it (as Stanley Cavell might put it). That is to say that the humanity of the poems is bound up with their registration of the impossible yet inevitable disjunctions in bereavement between the world one feels, imagines, or remembers, and the world one inhabits: where nothing feels more confoundingly real than the invasive virtualities of the departed, or more spectral than the empty and belated world of the present. Within the poems, Emma and Hardy’s reality appears continually at stake and in transit, as embodiment and spectrality alternate, and the vivid past eclipses the present, leaving him, in an ironic union, to feel like the ghost he imagines her to be. By such means, issues of epistemology and aesthetics meet expressively in the contorted intonations of this voice possessed by the complex estrangements of grief.

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154 | V OICE

III So how can one specifically relate these wide-ranging and contradictory features of speech and experience to Hardy’s uses of metre in ‘The Going’? After all, this was one area in which Hardy’s intentions, as a poet and craftsman, were indisputable and his investment total. Justifiably, he felt that the subtlety and originality of his metrical accomplishment was both at the heart of his writing, and beyond the ken of his critics. It is worth quoting here in full a passage mentioned in the previous chapter because it is so germane to the detail of what follows: He shaped his poetry accordingly, introduced metrical pauses, and reversed beats; and found for his trouble that some particular line of a poem exemplifying this principle was greeted with a would-be jocular remark that such a line ‘did not make for immortality’. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 301)

To take a representative example of what Hardy perceived to be patronising and uncomprehending dismissals, Lytton Strachey wrote of Satires of Circumstance that though ‘full of poetry […] it is also full of ugly and cumbrous expressions, clumsy metres, and flat, prosaic turns of speech’.14 Like the book’s other metrical readings, the following discussion traces the effectiveness of certain metrical motifs to show how innovative Hardy was as a metrist. In approaching this, it is worth pointing out two such motifs that are employed by Hardy both in ‘The Going’ and the collection as a whole. The first is the double off-beat/beat combination (-o- B), which is, broadly speaking, an anapaestic combination (of two unstressed beats followed by a beat), and often passingly associated by Hardy throughout the collection with the youthful allure of Emma’s lightsome and youthful grace. It often imparts, momentarily, an inspiriting musicality and momentum to the rhythm, but while also evoking the speaker’s impression that her nimble mobility is fused with, and reveals, the romance of the landscape that she traverses: Why go to Saint-Juliot? What’s Juliot to me? I was but made fancy By some necromancy That much of my life claims the spot as its key.

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 155 Yes, I have had dreams of that place in the West And a maiden abiding / Thereat as in hiding; (‘A Dream or No’, Complete Poems, 348) I see what you are doing: you are leading me on To the spots we knew when we haunted here together . . . I am just the same as when Our days were a joy, and our paths through flowers. (‘After a Journey’, Complete Poems, 349)

Expressively, as this suggests, this animating rhythmical figure can be tracked in the collection as a signature of his sense that she was leading him into a transfigured reality, identified with the beguiling enchantments of Cornwall. In this way, the metrical device becomes a vehicle for the ways the poems communicate not simply Emma’s youthful individuality, but also, as has been suggested, the infectious and vibrant power of individuation that he felt she promised his more passive self, as he stood on the threshold of this world, and their life together. If Emma is his muse, then, it is because she continues to inspire him, and offer him a voice, both personal and poetic. However also, as suggested, this association of Emma with movement, voice, corporeality, and place is itself also ironically transmuted in ‘The Going’. Within the context of death, it comes to incarnate his imaginings of her swift and peremptory departure to where he cannot follow. The ardent anxiety of youthful love – that she incarnates and promises him a new world – is now ironically reprised and transposed in his felt exclusion from the world of death to which he imagines her as having flown. And in the process he is consigned to an intolerable silence, and a world that appears endlessly mute, inescapable, and without the power to move. What of the second motif? I take Hardy’s ‘metrical pauses’ as corresponding to what Carper and Attridge call virtual [o] or implied [ô] off-beats. Here there is no syllable, though the unheard off-beat provides the necessary metrical spacing between successively stressed beats. Elsewhere in this book (in the readings of ‘The Self-Unseeing’ and ‘Music in a Snowy Street’), the effective uses of the absent off-beat have been associated with the speaker’s impression of the blank, incursive, atemporal, work of death. Here too, the unheard off-beat, separating two tolling beats, is often in tension with the first anapaestic motif, creating a tension between vitality and expressivity, on one hand, and these annihilating negations on the other. For another example from Poems of 1912–13, we can turn to the second stanza of

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156 | V OICE ‘Lament’ where Emma’s attentive and joyous hospitality is conveyed through the effective fluctuations of the expressive double-off beat/beat motif associated with her animated personality: Or she would have reigned At a dinner tonight With ardours unfeigned, And a generous delight; All in her abode She’d have freely bestowed On her guests . . . .

At the end of the stanza, though, the description of her death leads to two emphatic lines towards the close of the stanza, like the final line of the poem (‘yew-arched bed’) with three consecutive, unvarying beats separated by the implied off-beats: She is shut under grass o B ô B ô B Where no cups flow, Powerless to know B o B ô B ô B That it might be so.

In a comparable way, in ‘The Going’ the contrast between these two metrical motifs – the double off-beat/beat and the ghostly implied off-beat – contributes powerfully to the inner unresolved dialectic of the speaker’s thinking of loss in the poem. He moves back and forth between the fictive imagining of her death as one more going, on the one hand, and on the other, his unsparing acknowledgement of the invisible metaphysical event of death, and the utter change and transformation it has brought about. This pattern clearly runs through the poem as an intractable contradiction within the grieving mind. The speaker oscillates between attempting through flights of metaphor to think about death within the mundane texture of life, and contrarily acknowledging that its strange, instantaneous power is unthinkable, unrepresentable, and irreversible. In such ways metre and metaphor combine to register the impossibility of living this tension between these two, equally necessary yet mutually exclusive, frames of thinking. The mind blanks before death’s resistance to knowledge, and so must fall back again on merely imagining it. At the same time, the mind is also aware at some level of how its fictions are themselves a cover for what cannot be represented but only

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 157 acknowledged – death’s invasive, subtractive power of erasure, absence, nothingness. Turning to the metre of the poem itself (Complete Poems, 338–39), in the first four lines, we can see this oscillation in the rhythm’s expression of the obsessive circuits of the speaker’s grieving mind. First, he begins by forlornly attempting to address and reason with his wife. His voice starts and stops, one moment rising with a certain febrile insistence, the next falling back: B -oB o B O B Why did you give no hint that night o B o ô B -o- B o B That quickly after the morrow’s dawn, o B o ôo b o B o B And calmly, as if indifferent quite, -oB o B o ô b -oB You would close your term here, up and be gone

First, the double off-beats set up the anapaestic rhythm that tropes her death as a characteristically sudden, wilful flight. Preceding the beat (in bold following), these impart an urgent imploring tone to the speaker’s words, in conjunction with their reiterated imagining of the impetus of her hasty parting as one more empirical going (‘Why /did you give / . . . after the morrow’s/ . . . you would close/ . . . and be gone . . . Where I could/ not’). Accordingly too, Hardy desires to make himself heard by her, launching his words as if they could follow in pursuit . . . But then, the second motif, the implied off-beat, suggests the mystery of death as an unknowable, incisive, metaphysical event that silently cuts into our world as if from some other dimension. In this respect, as suggested above, death is at once utterly invisible and utterly transformative. This is given here in the imperceptible pauses after ‘quickly’, ‘calmly’, and ‘here’. The implied off-beats invisibly separate and go between two syllables, incarnating in the expressive world of the poem this faceless and imperceptible, yet fatal, division in the fabric of time (‘That quickly [ô] after the the morrow’s dawn, And calmly [ô] as if indifferent quite, You would close your term here, [ô] up and be gone’). At such moments then, the metre registers what cannot be represented or known: the unperceived, lethal instant of Emma’s death. By such means, the metre suggests the alternations and tensions in the speaker’s divided mind as he recurrently fails to overcome the dissociation and blankness of death, and calls out to Emma. However, the final phase of the stanza offers also a different movement of mind.

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158 | V OICE He now acknowledges the irrevocable nature of her passing. The spasmodic contortions of the early lines yield to the lyricism of the image of the swallow: -oB O B o Where I could not follow o B o B o With wing of swallow o B o B -oBo oB To gain one glimpse of you ever anon!

Sonically, these lines take on a new graceful motion. The cadenced shorter lines create a local spiraling mellifluousness, through rhymes (‘follow/swallow’), run-on lines, and looping echoic or alliterative effects (‘Where . . . With wing . . . gain . . . glimpse’). The metre, using repeated feminine endings, also contributes a beautiful sense of weightlessness, defying iambic regularity through a graceful prolongation that summons how a swallow on the wing defies gravity with its circling phases of sweep and glide. Clearly, Hardy asserts here the incidental, fugitive, lyricism that will infiltrate the collection throughout. Yet the implacably rigorous complexity of his mind also asserts itself at the same moment, since his words, and the faintly interruptive awkwardness of the emphasized off-beat on ‘not’ (‘where I could not follow’), also belie the graceful movements and beauty of the verse itself. He acknowledges to himself that he cannot emulate the movements of the swallow that he imaginatively associates with Emma’s parting, and conveys thereby his bitter sense of the impossibility of ever following or seeing her. It is worth emphasizing the difference and continuity in these respects between these lines and those that preceded them, since in both phases of the stanza movement was both evoked and extinguished. But there is more to it too, in that whereas in the early lines the interplay of imagination and reality was a function of the succession of incommensurable attitudes, here it is a function of their coexistence. So, the tenor of these words, their music and lyricism, may threaten momentarily to carry us away. However, Hardy’s word ‘not’ communicates how his lyricism harbors an unshakeable, all too literal, awareness that he can never see her again (any more than a swallow could fly with one wing, perhaps; or one swallow could make a summer; or one solitary swallow could follow those migrants who have gone before). In this way, the lines still communicate, though in another form, Hardy’s rending and characteristic sense that his desire for transport is as impossible as it is ineradicable.

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 159 In the second stanza, this broken dialectic of grief now takes another turn. As in the second stanza of ‘After A Journey’, ‘The Voice’, or ‘I Found Her Out There’ the speaker falls back within his deflated interiority. Appropriately, the rhythm now reflects a more quiescent, reflective, and ruminative idiom, the first two lines contracting to endstopped three-beat lines: B -oB o B Never to bid good-bye, o B o o B o B Or give me the softest call,

One metrical marker of this shift is a falling away of the anapaestic effect. Hardy now employs successive (rather than double) off-beats (italicized in the following sentence). This gives a sense of time experienced now as immobile passivity, as flat detention, or empty suspense, as in ‘give me the softest call . . . utter a wish for a word . . . morning harden upon the wall’. The speaker sees himself here as someone who had perhaps unconsciously waiting for a soft call, a word. Yet he now re-imagines the moment-by-moment advent of the morning light as itself hard and rejecting: o B o o B -o- B o B Or utter a wish for a word, while I O B o B o o B o B Saw morning harden upon the wall,

Amidst the bitterly sorrowful negativity of these lines, the initial stresses on ‘softest’ and ‘harden’ make these two antonymic words stand out all the more. Indeed, their metrical prominence and proximity can make us ponder whether there is any significant association between the two, beyond their reference to the situation as he regrets that the two had not exchanged softening words, while daylight asserted itself. In fact, the effect of this conjoining, and the seemingly accidental or incidental use of the word ‘harden’ for the morning is very subtle and powerful, since it comes to suggest how the speaker’s awareness of the nature of the marriage develops and rises to consciousness again - as it were in the moments of speech or contemplation – as he retrospectively depicts the former, hardening morning light. That is to say that the hardening light impresses itself on him as a metaphor through which the perception emerges now, of an inner truth: of how implacably in waking then it was the daily hardening of the heart, the habitual turning away, that was second nature as

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160 | V OICE consciousness gathered and asserted itself. As the light hardened, so did the heart, indistinguishably, and now that hardening comes to mind . . . Thus the metrical and semantic pairing of ‘softest’ and ‘hardened’ comes dynamically to enact a a dawning sense of the regret that cuts and pains him as he speaks: that waking led to this then-habitually conscious, closing-off of emotional possibility. Specifically too, his words suggest a further twist: his dim but agonized sense that this habitual hardening was implicitly taking place at the very moment of Emma’s passing: a fact that now strikes him as unconscionable, tormenting, and grotesque. And lastly here, it is a further marker of Hardy’s inspiration in these poems that it is precisely this developing, liminal, thought – that the two might have softened to each other and renewed their intimacy – that finds its way to full and explicit consciousness in the penultimate stanza (‘Why, then, latterly did we not speak’). Yet the desire that the marital pair might have overcome their own polarizing opposition is of course now a forlorn one. It is also importantly an outcome of the larger recognition in the stanza, that death itself extends the logic of a marriage composed of such daily mutual annihilation and habitual blankness. The irony that compasses the speaker round is that each now remains unchangeably enclosed – him within his interiority, and Emma within her grave – as if in dreadful fulfillment of the wish whereby the pair had effectively boxed each other in by their daily refusals of intimacy and openness, their selfhardening refusals of speech. Irony takes the measure of this situation again, as the speaker – as in the previous stanza – brings such a perception towards consciousness. This is evident in another, more obvious, pairing of words – ‘unmoved’ and ‘unknowing’ which takes up a line on its own. This pairing similarly expresses, like ‘softest’ and ‘harden’ both his actual unconsciousness of her death as it happened, and the later wish that things could have been otherwise. Bitter self-knowledge reverberates within these words, since the negations of the past imply the contrary but hopeless desire that the two could formerly have spoken, that they could have once again moved or known each other: o B ô o B o Unmoved, unknowing o B o B o That your great going o B o B o ô o B o B Had place that moment, and altered all.

Once again here the implied off-beats correspond to the unfath-

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 161 omable excess of death. The first suitably divides ‘unmoved’ and ‘unknowing’, as if metrically enacting the two ways death resists his consciousness here – firstly, as an empirical reality of which he was unaware, and secondly, as a metaphysical event that is itself unknowable, and outside of experience. The implied off-beat in the final line (between ‘moment’ and ‘and’) similarly and eloquently suggests this divisive work of death as an event that intervenes in time to alter all. As such, the off-beat, approximating to death as an event outside of the connective work of time and mind, helps underline both the shortcomings and the inevitability of Hardy’s recourse to the metaphor that would seek to identify Emma’s death as if it were a part of life, as if it actually were, in fact, merely a ‘great going’. In the third stanza, the use of double off-beats returns as the metrical signature for the speaker’s excited imagination of Emma, whose ghost now seems to draw him on: B -oB o B o B Why do you make me leave the house o B -o- B -o- B o B And think for a breath it is you I see -oB -o- B o o B o B At the end of the alley of bending boughs -oB o o B o B o B Where so often at dusk you used to be; B o B -oB o Till in darkening dankness o B o B o The yawning blankness -oB o o B o B Of the perspective sickens me!

The gathering sense of Emma’s tantalizing presence infiltrates and overturns the speaker’s sense of reality (‘Why /do you make […] for a breath’). Within this stanza there is a sense of vertiginous excitement. He feels summoned by her, as in ‘After a Journey’, so that the past appears on the verge of returning. The second line again uses rhythm in obedience to an alluring logic of enactment that draws us on. This is apparent, for instance, in the way that rhythmical insistence serves wishful hallucination, since to fit in with the insurgent anapaestic, double off-beat pattern we can imagine we hear the word ‘that’ where no such word exists (And think / for a breath / it is you / [that] I see// At the end of the alley). However, this pattern soon suddenly stalls, with the more desultory successive off-beats (in bold

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162 | V OICE following) that convey the actuality of a mind searching, but now falteringly, for the vision of Emma whose apparent imminence is now receding (‘alley of bending boughs . . . so often at dusk’). And once again, also, the two short lines create a decisive counterpoint as the speaker takes stock. Alliteration, feminine endings, and internal rhyme – ‘darkening dankness/ yawning blankness’ – condense and rhythmically convey his reflexive consciousness of a lowering, seesawing, sense of repetition and emptiness, of a world collapsing in on itself. Once again rhythm enacts the sickeningly conclusive return of feelings of loss, and anticipates Hardy’s phrasing of how this empty perspective ‘sickens me’. In the next stanza, though, the mind enters a more stable perspective of voluntary reminiscence. Here the speaker summons Emma rather than the other way round, as he turns to address and evoke her in association with vivid scenes from the past. The metre underscores the precision of Hardy’s physical recall. He depicts her in the beauty of the Cornish landscape, in the intimate moments of their eye contact, and in the thumping, thrilling corporeality of their precipitous rides ‘along the beetling Beeny Crest’: B o b o o B You were she who abode -oB O B o B By those red-veined rocks far West, B -oB O B o B You were the swan-necked one who rode o B o B o B o B Along the beetling Beeny Crest, o B o B o And, reining nigh me, o B o B o Would muse and eye me, o B o B o o Bo B While Life unrolled us its very best.

In this stanza, the mind slips the leash of time, and finds solace in the reinvigorating memory of their shared, youthful sense of futurity. The chimerical sense that Emma’s ghost had been drawing him on yields here to this remembered time ‘far West’ when the actuality of the time to come had united them, offering an unfolding, even exhilarating, dimension. This world is full of forward-pressing rhythmical pulse, and vividness. Indeed, within this pulsating world of youthful passion, colour, pleasure, and possibility, even the ancient and immovable ‘red-

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 163 veined rocks’ appear transfigured and embodied. The stanza’s vitalizing principle is epitomized in the final lines. The internal rhyming, rhythmical and echoic effects of sound (‘ning’/ ‘nigh’; ‘me’/ ‘muse’/ ‘me’) capture the unfolding face-to-face between the pair, as she reins her horse to look at him (‘And, reining nigh me, / Would muse and eye me’). The stressed word ‘muse’ suggests how mutual scrutiny was compounded with the amusement, reciprocity, and eye contact that would play between them. In this romantic scene, as always in Hardy, the mind is incarnated through the sensitivities of the body. The self expresses its individuality or ‘soul’ through inspiring physical accidents and pleasures, as here in the indefinite, involuntary, prolongations of this scene where lovers meet. This inspiriting sense of a corporeal event of correspondence, pleasure, eroticism, comedy and sympathy applies also to the way that the descriptions of Emma are equally descriptions of Hardy’s own inner landscape of response, as his sensibility registers and adjusts to hers. His mind rhymes, and composes a common rhythm, with hers, as she reins her horse in to look at him, or as he watches, and now movingly conveys, her own spirited adjustments to the lie of the land as she rides and hoofs it along the ‘beetling Beeny Crest’. In such episodes, everything changes as the chances of love foment a mutuality that opens into the future, generating a movement forwards into marriage. However, the pendulum swings in the poem are never more apparent than between this stanza and the following one, where the vibrant memory produces a tormenting sense of punitive regret. The rhythms become expressively discordant and knotted: B o Boo O o B ô B Why, then, latterly did we not speak,

The strikingly ugly, disintegrative arrhythmia of this line suggests the contortions of a mind blanking, now in full acknowledgement of this life-defeating refusal to speak, of their failure, after all, to amuse or respond to each other. Passion thus returns once again in an ironized form. The speaker suffers the regretful, torturing awareness that the wilful silence of marriage is now finalized for all eternity by death. Irrevocably now, he is closed off from conversation with his wife, and his only recourse is to these shapeless phrases, these flailing words. He is captive to his obsessive musings on their failure to recapture or renew that lapsed connectedness: B -oB -oB o B Did we not think of those days long dead,

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164 | V OICE o B o B o O B o B And ere your vanishing strive to seek o B o B o That time’s renewal?

His words track a closed circuit between bitter despair (we never did, we never can . . . ) and the consuming yearning that things could have been otherwise (we might have done . . . ). This reiterative wish – that they could have recovered the lost joys of the past – is evident metrically in the return of the anapaestic double off-beat/beat pattern that here passingly imparts impetus to the lines and evokes those lost joys of the past: ‘Did we not think of those days long dead’ . . . ? In the stanza’s closing section he expansively responds to this suggestion with a novelist’s mind. He scopes an imagined scene and conversation that could have brought resolution, and present solace: ô

o B o B We might have said, -oB ô B ô B o “In this bright spring weather o Bo o B o We’ll visit together o B o B o B o Those places that once we visited.”

The line ‘In this bright spring weather’ begins with a sprightly double off-beat, followed by three consecutive stressed syllables, ‘bright spring weather’, that take time from the implied off-beats between them. Here Hardy brilliantly and movingly uses this metrical motif (the implied off-beats creating three successive beats) for once to transmit a counter-sense of what life gives, rather than of what death takes. As a consequence, the lines image something eternal and redemptive that subsists in the leisurely spaciousness of the speaker’s imagining of this scene of spring’s renewal, where the two occupy a happy indefinite interval, and where ‘weather’ rhymes with ‘together’. However, according to the now familiar dialectic, the last stanza begins with the flatly emphatic reiterations of a final reckoning that sweeps aside such fancied resolutions. The initial phrase ‘Well, well!’ sets the tone of invariance with two emphatic beats, and the first four lines depict again the undeniable, stock-taking, logic of loss (‘All’s past amend, / Unchangeable. It must go . . . I seem but a dead man . . . ’). Finality here is a matter also of syntax and punctuation, of tolling full stops, and the ironic use of enjambment in the third line where the run-

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‘Metre and Mourning’ | 165 on after the word ‘end’ enacts the speaker’s lowering sense of his own false continuation as a ‘dead man held on end / To sink down soon’. The ponderous, dragging rhythms – incorporating emphasized offbeats, beats, and implied off-beats – underline this sense of someone drained of vitality and desire, on the point of collapse, exhausted and oppressed by the tedious, familiar stations of his grief: B ô B ô O B o B Well, well! All’s past amend, o B o ô o O B Unchangeable. It must go. o B -o- B o B o B I seem but a dead man held on end o B o B ô B o B o B To sink down soon . . . O you could not know

As in earlier examples, the implied off-beats or ‘absent beats’ insist in the metrical pattern without being materially incorporated within it. They are once again associated with death, which is itself both absent yet also discernible, and which is now importantly a disintegrative influence that extends, as suggested, to the speaker’s sense of himself. He now feels himself as no longer simply inhabiting the world of the living (‘I seem but a dead man held on end’). The equivocations of irony now dominate his own self-awareness, his sense that he is becoming indistinguishable from corpse and ghost, a detainee between life and death. His existence lacks any power to sustain itself, and is now bordered by an insistent silence and power of absence. He is subjugated by this felt sense of imminent annihilation, and the torsions of his grief. His mind turns between memory and a sense of his own demise, a split expressed metrically by the implied off-beat, and typographically by the ellipsis: o B o B ô B o B o B To sink down soon . . . O you could not know

One final time, in this closing movement of the poem he turns in imagination to address Emma (‘O you could not know’). And once more, though the end of the poem looms, the lines become for a short interval taken by the enlivening musicality associated with her. Alliteration, couplet rhyme, and feminine endings fleetingly impart a tripping internal fluency to these lines before the final line recapitulates the irresolvable dialectic that has marked the poem:

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166 | V OICE

o b o B o That such swift fleeing o B o B o No soul foreseeing – o Bo B ô -oB o B Not even I — would undo me so!

In this closing line, he draws together the whole poem, voicing and identifying himself as someone utterly dislocated by grief. The implied off-beat disarticulates the line before the momentarily reprised anapaestic double off-beat (‘would undo’) immediately follows it to convey, for the last time, the speaker’s ironic, disjunctive, spectral world of loss, longing, and absence.

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CHAPTER

8

‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ “The Oxen”, Metre, and Belief ‘The Oxen’ has long been one of Hardy’s most anthologized poems, widely praised for the speaker’s childhood memory of sitting with other children on Christmas Eve. For all its fame, however, there is only one obscure reference to ‘The Oxen’ in the Life. It describes how Mrs Hardy sold the manuscript of the poem in February 1916 at a Red Cross Sale, along with the manuscripts of ‘“The Breaking of Nations” and a fragment of a story – the whole fetching £72:10s’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 372). Yet the very public circumstances of its first publication, in The Times on Christmas Eve in 1915 – in the midst of the unprecedented slaughter of the war – show clearly Hardy’s ambitions for ‘The Oxen’ and its intended scope as a pronouncement that seeks to bind together the widest range of readers precisely in terms of something at once utterly inward and private, yet universal: the children’s lost capacity for vision, belief, and response. This discussion explores important contexts of the poem. Initially it will move from the outside inwards, examining ‘The Oxen’ in relation to Hardy’s own life, his thought, his attitudes to religion, his critics, and his own links to romanticism and modernity. In doing so, it will prepare the ground for a metrical reading that will approach the poem from the inside outwards, specifically exploring how effectively Hardy’s versification voices a sensibility divided between a residual form of unguarded openness, associable with childhood trust and inspiration, and a thoroughgoing sceptical or atheistic despondency that is bordered by an allusive sense of the horror of the time. These tensions are everywhere evident in the poem’s intonation, as well as its scenario and temporal shifts. The reader will remember how at the prompting of an elder, on the chiming of twelve, the ‘flock’ of children imagine the meek cattle (according to an old tradition) kneeling in their pen on the occasion of Jesus’s birth. As the poem unfolds however, this innocent and unquestioning belief is contrasted with the adult’s regrets over the loss of youth, faith, and community. Lastly, in

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168 | V OICE the poem’s coda, the aged poet, while alluding to ‘these years’ of war, offers a memorable acknowledgement that the child’s attitude of ready hope is still not eradicated within him, though belief itself may be (Hardy, Complete Poems, 468). Broadly speaking, few would dispute that ‘The Oxen’ is indeed a very rare thing: a poem on religion and faith that speaks to all, and whose disunities resonate with the discord and carnage of its time. Nonetheless, it is as a personal, even private, piece that it has mostly been received. In purely biographical terms for instance, Florence Hardy claimed in a letter of January 7 1917, to Alda, Lady Hoare that ‘[i]t was of course his mother who told’ young Thomas ‘the legend of the oxen kneeling in their stables at midnight on Christmas Eve’.1 From very early on, critics have identified their impressions of the poem’s tone with the disenchanted Hardy who wrote in 1907 that ‘[t]he days of creeds are as dead and done with as days of Pterodactyls’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 332). Writing a decade or so after publication, R. W. King asserted that its ‘most appealing element’ was its ‘wistful tenderness and pity for human faiths and failings’,2 while Cecil Day Lewis celebrated the poem’s ‘golden haze of retrospect’.3 More recently, writers have tended to take the poem as a paradigmatic statement of Hardy’s stoical, sceptical, or nostalgic feeling of displacement from the vanished faith of his youth. Tomalin links it to Hardy’s difficulties on matters of belief: ‘”The Oxen” is Hardy’s musing at Christmas on his lack of faith and his regret for it, a poem [to which] even the most hardened unbeliever is likely to respond’ (Tomalin, Hardy, 325). Tom Paulin identifies these two kinds of exclusion – from belief and youth – as wound round each other, and claims that a ‘strong element in this wish to believe is [Hardy’s] nostalgia for the rural Anglicanism of his child-hood’ (Paulin, The Poetry of Perception, 61). In similar vein, Pite wrote that Hardy in ‘The Oxen’ ‘yearns after the fanciful, almost fairytale belief that “his childhood used to know”’ (Pite, Hardy, 110). Arguably, the consensus of admiring commentary and the poem’s status as an epitome of Hardy’s views on religion, have had the effect of making ‘The Oxen’ too much appear a text about which there is nothing more to say, consigning its status to that of a useful, selfevident summation of Hardy’s views on religion. Nonetheless, the metrical analysis of the poem will seek to show both how extensively the unfolding meaning and emotional power of the poem are connected to the shifting nuances and dimensions of intonation. Among other things, attention to metre can show how the poem not only passingly incarnates within the reader the drained and isolated reflections of age, but also passingly retrieves, as a kind of virtual tran-

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 169 sient reality, the lost mind and voice of childhood – guileless, gentle, responsive, and even visionary. The reader finds himself or herself surprised by phrases and affects that disrupt cognition, logic, and chronology, and effectively put different dimensions of the self and its history into circulation. In this respect, the poem is like a child’s paper fortune-teller game: it reads us as much as we read it, its words opening and closing between divergent dimensions, and singular, folded layers of identity and time. Above all perhaps, a study of the poem’s vocal enactments reveals that so far from being a poem about the speaker’s exclusion from commonalty, universality, innocence, hope, or transcendence, ‘The Oxen’ is in fact irreducibly dedicated to such things. So one might oppose the scenario of the poem – and the speaker’s scepticism on matters of faith and humanity – to its own vocal address, whereby a writer, qua poet, cannot but dedicate himself anew through his words to a new addressee, a new beginning, a new moment of vision, and hence to a renewal of (faith in) humanity within himself and his reader at least. And then one might take this a priori projective aspect of poetic expression as being in secret accord with the poem’s mise-enscène, as we read of children who display an automatic capacity for wonder as they sit together, rapt in their common visioning of the cattle who themselves in their turn are also somehow similarly blessed, with their own strange, bovine visions of the redeemer. So, even as we might consciously reflect sorrowfully on the absence of faith and wonder, and gloss the poem in such terms as critics have done, it is nonetheless wonder of a kind that the poem produces, transmits, and depends on: a wonder at that very human capacity for wonder and hope, incarnated undeniably in the children, and recovered in this kind of virtual form in the reader and speaker through links that extend even to the imagined and imaginative cattle themselves . . . None of this is to deny the stark absence of any circumstance that corresponds to the capacity for such vision, but it is to assert that it is undeniable that such a capacity, irreducible and persistent, is all at once the poem’s theme, occasion, and effect.4 Thus the poem specifically sounds out within the reader the residual incarnation of a self still receptive to the address of ‘someone’, as at the end of the poem, who might arrive to lead the dejected self towards hope. One might also follow the poem’s permutations of hope and scepticism beyond the biographical to think of those obscure figures and forbears who Hardy as a poet still felt himself bound to follow. In this respect, ‘The Oxen’, like so many Hardy poems, rewards consideration in terms of his enduring romanticism, however much we need to acknowledge how hollowed-out and attenuated this was within his

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170 | V OICE own ironic form of modern consciousness. Again, my running comparison with Wordsworth, that great exemplar of high Romantic poetic subjectivity, is a useful one. For instance, whereas the young Wordsworth’s poetic enquiry into the essentials of human identity was premised on the urgent hope for a redemptive connection to the childhood self through nature, Hardy’s more modern sensibility always insisted on identity as discontinuous, unfixed, and ironically exiled.5 But like Wordsworth, Hardy’s work generalizes, even philosophizes, his personal predicaments, as an interrogation of subjectivity and cognition in pursuit of greater expressivity. It is easy to see how far this is a matter of voice for the poet of ‘Tintern Abbey’ whose rolling, excursive periods and tones – sportive, wild, hermetic, lofty – find their physical and reflective conditions through the occasions of nature, so that in revisiting the banks of the Wye it is himself the poet is revisiting, and his own sense of self-loss he is engaging. But what gives Hardy voice? How does he recover himself in verse? A short answer is that Hardy as a poet appears driven by the need expressively to acknowledge, rather than to overcome or alleviate, the pretext of selfdiscordance with which he begins. The poetic impulse would then be driven more to share (with the reader) than to resolve (within the self and through communion with others or nature) those disparities between circumstance and feeling, and different temporal modalities of the self, that produce the verse. Finally here, this leads to a few words on the central ethical and philosophical conflict of scepticism and hope in the poem. Much of what follows will seek to show how extensive this is, reaching into contexts of modernity, religion, and politics, and how far it is a matter of language and metre. The worlds of childhood and age appear utterly divided in ‘The Oxen’, and nowhere more so than in the final stanza. Yet the poem demonstrates not only their ironic coexistence within the speaker, but also a strange, secret congruence between scepticism and childhood in one crucial aspect. Scepticism is the secular attitude that yearns for the removal of doubt, yet in the child’s attitude (as shown in the poem) there is no doubt, since it is not an attitude of belief or knowledge. Rather, the poem voices the attitude of childhood as a responsive, immersive, and automatic disposition. It is prior to the parsings of cognition or proof, yet reaches out from this familiar world towards a transformed one, or even a world beyond. Thus, the study of metre allows one to consider not only the surprising irruptions of the childhood mind in the poem, but their internal continuities with the abiding, recreational hopefulness of poetry itself. In such respects, further, they anticipate also the imagined advent of the nameless person at the close of the poem: the ‘someone’ who introduces a

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 171 Christmas miracle, and who issues the Christ-like command, ‘come see’. Suitably enough, this command is itself indeterminate from the point of view of knowledge: it is between being a miraculous revelation for the faithful (‘come see what I am showing to you if you have the power to believe’), and a report of one (‘come see what I have seen’). Here as elsewhere, the expressive means of the poem refuse to allow the poem to fall back simply into the crepuscular reality and the isolated speaker’s final gloomy musing, however much we might surmise the poem to have begun, and be preoccupied, with these things.

I Florence Hardy said that the outbreak of the war initially horrified Hardy, bringing about ‘a great change in him […] To me he seems ten years older. The thought of it all obsesses him’, and he told Edmund Gosse around this time that ‘[t]he effect of it upon me was for a long while to prevent my doing anything, & still is to a great extent’.6 To Sydney Cockerill he commented that ‘the recognition that we are living in a more brutal age that that, say, of Elizabeth’ did not ‘inspire’ him ‘to write hopeful prose’, but made him feel apathetic. He told the editor of the Daily News that he preferred ‘to write nothing’ (Pite, Hardy, 429). However, though the onset of war led Hardy initially to this dispirited falling back, this was eventually succeeded by outbreaks of industry, even inspiration. As Ralph Pite put it, ‘[p]atriotic duty roused him from torpor’ and he soon even became somewhat galvanized by the situation, as the Life shows, producing a steady output of poems such as ‘Men Who March Away’, ‘England to Germany in 1914’, ‘Often When Warring’, ‘Then and Now’, ‘We Are Getting to the End’, and ‘On the Belgian Expatriation’ (Pite, Hardy, 429). This transition between deflation and inspiration is evident within the subjective world of ‘The Oxen’, but explicit reference to the war is absent. Rather, it takes the conflict as its elided occasion, however much it shares with the war poems a piquancy and power linked to its very public, urgent sense of timeliness. These features are presumably part of what Irving Howe was referring to, when he said that the poem had ‘an intensely personal accent’, and the metrical reading of the following section will explore how such issues surface in the poem’s intonation.7 However, the main question here is in what respects the poem can be linked to the personal contexts and complexities of Hardy’s attitudes towards religion. John Bayley offered a subtle formulation that provides a useful rubric for what

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172 | V OICE follows, and that captures Hardy’s liminal status between religious and secular attitudes, when he remarked that the adult Hardy ‘does not substitute a new belief or attitude but continues in the old one, having ceased to believe it’ (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 49). One can expand the point a little by acknowledging Timothy Hands’s point that Hardy’s self-professed agnosticism was of a scrupulous kind that refused labels: It is not just that Hardy was not a believer, agnostic or atheist by any accepted or historical definition of these terms: it is in addition that he was notable for the extent to which he strove to avoid any kind of categorization.8

Hardy, Hands described, was ambivalent in matters of faith, perpetually divided by an intellectual necessity for unbelief that he struggled to assimilate, so that he gave the prevailing ‘impression of a regret, sometimes sentimental, sometimes wistful, for a religious belief which he found constantly considerable, yet personally elusive because intellectually unacceptable’ (Hands, ‘One Church’, 215). In 1928, John Middleton Murry reported his astonishment when ‘in the summer of last year’[1927], Hardy told him of how circumstances had prevented his boyhood wish to enter the Church, leading him to comment that “I have often regretted it”.9 This Hardy, both ‘churchy’ and ‘agnostic’ – unable either to renew or renounce his youthful faith – has long been a familiar figure to readers, and critics such as Hands and Jan J¢drzejeweski have advanced accounts of how Hardy’s mind developed within these two inextricable yet incompatible attitudes. Hands has offered an expert account of the religious and liturgical environment of Hardy’s upbringing, while J¢drzejeweski traces a phased evolution away from the boy’s unquestioning faith towards the theological questioning of his youth, and then on from this to the bitter condemnation of the Church as a social institution in later life, before a final rapprochement with the value, even necessity, of ‘fundamental ethical values of Christianity in the life of human society despite the irrelevance of their ontological basis’.10 This is borne out in a reminiscence by J. H. Morgan, published in The Times on 19 January 1928 (eight days after Hardy’s death), that recalls a conversation of October 21 1922 in which the writer confided to Morgan his late practice of more regular, if still sporadic, church attendance: “I believe in going to church. It is a moral drill and people must have something”.11 One might revisit these points by saying that Hardy’s sensibility was intimately formed in accordance with the four-square frameworks of

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 173 his mother’s faith, even if he was no longer able to grant them credence. So ‘The Oxen’, or ‘Afternoon Service at Mellstock’ retain the hymn-like qualities of form and verse too, even as they register the poet’s abiding sense of displacement from the ready and unquestioning faith of childhood. Accordingly, these poems do not parody or critique the attitudes and structures of faith, so much as inhabit them still, as Bayley suggested, but with an inability to grant them assent. From this point of view, Hardy’s self-description as ‘churchy’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 376) takes on further resonances, as if his adult mind in some aspects itself continued to resemble an abandoned, echoing church that he was reluctant to leave, though he no longer felt at home there. This way of putting it brings to mind not only the many poems where Hardy describes himself as regretfully excluded from the faith that others still enjoy, but also the very literal as well as metaphorical way in which he was often not disposed to leave behind the grounds, or premises of belief. There is a telling passage in the Life: We enter church […] we are pretending what is not true; that we are believers. This must not be; we must leave. And if we do, we reluctantly go to the door, and creep out as it creaks complainingly behind us. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 332–33)

The passage is powerfully illustrative, even emblematic, of this view of how Hardy found himself perpetually on the threshold of a locus of belief, unable to enter or depart. One might say, more exactly, that he did not so much refuse faith as refuse to accept it, but while also refusing to refuse it . . . In poetic form, ‘The Impercipient’ is perhaps the most direct statement of this scrupulous and felt dislocation, its speaker finding himself an ‘outcast’ from the worshippers he observes in the church. He retreats from observation of ‘this bright believing band’, into liminal musing and reflection on the ‘unfelicity’ that excludes him from the joy and visions (the ‘mirage-mists’ of ‘their Shining Land’) they appear to enjoy, leaving him only in ‘disquiet’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 66–67). As Howe comments, ‘far from claiming any superiority as an “emancipated” modern’ [Hardy] recognizes the extent of his losses while refusing to allow these to lure him into a faith his mind has already rejected’ (Howe, Hardy, 177).12 The philosophical complexities of Hardy’s attitudes to belief can be clearly seen in ‘A Sign Seeker’, with its extraordinary tone and theme of unappeased rigour. It is a poem in which the mind is represented and enacted as bending itself away from the lure of faith:

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174 | V OICE – There are who, rapt to heights of trancelike trust. These tokens claim to feel and see, Read radiant hints of time to be – Of heart to heart returning after dust to dust. Such scope is granted not to lives like mine . . . I have lain in dead men’s beds, have walked The tombs of those with whom I had talked, Called many a gone and goodly one to shape a sign, And panted for response. But none replies; No warnings loom, nor whisperings To open out my limitings, And Nescience mutely muses: When a man falls he lies. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 50)

In the 1898 ‘Wessex Poems’, the line ‘Such scope is granted not to lives like mine’ reads as ‘Such scope is granted not my powers indign’.13 The gnarled and recondite terms ‘indign’ and ‘Nescience’ are very striking. Aesthetically barbarous and ugly, they are nonetheless very effective indices of a searching and extended individual mind, one not intent on pleasing itself merely, but on struggling with awkward, resistant, truths, and its own powers of articulation. As such, these words are inward with the poem’s emphasis on the business of learning as an empirical business, dependent on percipience, and knotty, obdurate signs. This language again expresses what the poem also says: that knowledge is a function of one’s encounters, of the mind’s difficult construing of truth through external, physical ‘tokens’ that it reads as signs: But none replies; No warnings loom, nor whisperings To open out my limitings, And Nescience mutely muses: When a man falls he lies.

In these final lines, the material condition of mind is clearly stated through a bathos that is also powerfully metaphorical. He is led ‘mutely’ to ‘muse’ that ‘[w]hen a man falls he lies’. Human existence (the conclusion has it) is a matter of acknowledging finitude, of an attitude receptive of ‘limitings’ and ‘[n]escience’ opposed to the wishful flights and uplift of ‘tranced trust’. By these means ‘The Sign Seeker’ expressively advances the internal rigours and schisms of Hardy’s attitude to faith, and conveys an empiricist bent of the kind that led him to write in 1901:

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 175 After reading various philosophic systems, and being struck with their contradictions and futilities, I have come to this: Let every man make a philosophy for himself out of his own experience. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 310)

The human mind must struggle, it seems, not only to interpret the world, but to inhabit it, through our ways of voicing it anew. We inherit words but must acknowledge that no prior structure of philosophy or faith can locate us in terms that are our own. Other poems by Hardy on faith indicate similar features, registering, and perhaps rejecting, the faint residual reverberations and echoes of a departed faith, while the contortions of mind are evident in the twists and turns of metre and language. Many poems question or upbraid God with suffering and injustice (‘Nature’s Questioning’, ‘Doom and She’, ‘The Absolute Explains’, or ‘A Philosophical Fantasy’), leading Patricia Ingham to conclude that ‘Hardy cannot leave God alone any more than he can leave Christianity alone’ (Ingham, Thomas Hardy, 210). These discordances are clearly evident as a matter of texture in celebrated poems like ‘The Darkling Thrush’ or ‘Christmastide’, which are layered with intimations of Christian hope, or Romantic inspiration. The speaker in such poems cannot but acknowledge these uplifting moments, while being bewildered or dispirited by their incongruity. Both poems are identified with the Christmas season, the former explicitly by the appended date (31 December 1900) and the word ‘carolings’, which describes the joyful song of the bird in Christian terms (though clearly it references also the famous nightingale or skylark of Keats or Shelley) (Hardy, Complete Poems, 150). As described in the first chapter here, the poet is surprised not so much by the thrush as by his own sense of a hopeful transport that is automatic but also seemingly impossible. Comparably, the tramp in ‘Christmastide’, on his way to the workhouse, prompts a similar sense of mystery in the poet. He cheerily greets the poem’s despondent speaker with “A merry Christmas, friend!”, as the latter traverses the gloomy, rainy, and ‘blank highroad’. Hardy’s language, so exact in every other respect, with its registration of splintering ‘rain-shafts’ and the sighing, wind-blown, bushes, takes on an uncanny indeterminacy however with the advent of this figure who is described (a little like Wordsworth’s discharged soldier) as if he had arisen out of thin air. Like the imagined figure at the end of ‘The Oxen’, he seems as if he could partake of the scriptural quality of an apparition or visitation (‘There rose a figure by me’ . . . ), an unfathomable harbinger of seasonal and redemptive cheer, before the poet resolves into the bleakly quotidian register with the detail of

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176 | V OICE ‘a sodden tramp’ who yet sings ‘a thin song’ as he presses on to the workhouse for Christmas (Hardy, Complete Poems, 846). Once again structure, theme and situation express a many-sided, generative dislocation that expressively divides the speaker’s subjectivity: between his conscious recognition of an inhospitable world and the surprising, persistent yet homeless voicings of hope or vision that appear to belong to a former, cognitively superseded, state of being or belief.

II Here is the metrical transcription of the poem: ‘The Oxen’ B o B o B -oB Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. B -oB -oB [B] “Now they are all on their knees,” o B o B -oB -o- B An elder said as we sat in a flock -oB -oB o B [B] By the embers in hearthside ease. o B -oB O B o b We pictured the meek mild creatures where o B -oB o B [B] They dwelt in their strawy pen, o B -o- B o B -oB Nor did it occur to one of us there o B -oB o B [B] To doubt they were kneeling then. o B oB o B o B So fair a fancy few would weave o B o B o B [B] In these years! Yet, I feel, o B o B o B o B If someone said on Christmas Eve, B ô B o B o B “Come; see the oxen kneel,

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 177 -o- B o B -o- B o B “In the lonely barton by yonder coomb o B o B o B [B] Our childhood used to know,” -oB o O -oB I should go with him in the gloom, B -o- B o b [B] Hoping it might be so. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 468)

Metrically, the first significant feature to notice is that the first stanza divides into two distinct rhythmical units: respectively, the first two lines, and then the last two. Here is the first pair: B o B o B -o- B Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. B -oB -oB [B] “Now they are all on their knees,”

The dominant metrical figure is the use of B o B and B -o- B motifs that break the lines into separable metrical units, and underscore the dramatic insistence on a single moment of time through emphatic initial beats (‘Christmas Eve; twelve of the clock; Now they are all’). This poem about the past thus begins by foregrounding this dominant sense of the former present as an arresting here and now, as the clock ticked (or chimed) twelve, now, on Christmas Eve. A moment whose announcement summoned the children is thus replicated in the poem’s claim upon the reader, as metre and punctuation fold the lines internally into singular insistent moments, phrases. But there is a further important temporal complexity in this. After all, this midnight moment was not merely announced by the elders, but was itself imbued with a sense of annunciation, its pointed significance being above all that it was perforated by transcendence. The present moment, that is to say, was emphasized because it was a moment of promised presence. The children’s attitude of spontaneous receptivity accordingly signals not merely obedience, but a spiritual openness to a moment that they unquestioningly took as bearing within itself the insistent tension, the transfiguring intimation, of what is outside self and time. And, as the arresting metre produces an expectant readiness in the reader who is transported back to the unguarded attitudes of childhood, so too the children experienced themselves as internally divided: between the quotidian self, on Christmas Eve with their friends, compliant to the elder’s instructions and words; and the sudden incarnation of this self of faith and vision open to some further,

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178 | V OICE wondrous dimension, and the summons of spiritual transport. It is this animating connection between the everyday and the transcendent, then, that is central to this rhythm, and to the stanza and the two pairs of lines. With this in mind, how does the second pair of lines work here? o B o B -o- B -o- B An elder said as we sat in a flock -oB -oB o B [B] By the embers in hearthside ease.

The first thing to note is that the rhythmic mode contrasts sharply, passingly employing a definite, regular iambic pattern (‘An elder said’). This briefly but firmly suggests the moments of settling down, as the children become collectively transfixed by the words of the elder and the sense of occasion. However, this iambic pattern almost immediately gives way to a dominant anapaestic (double off beat/beat: -oB) motif, which importantly imparts a prevailing effect of motion and release to these lines. In fact, this becomes a rhythmical figure that is associated with the children and their imaginations throughout the poem (‘on their knees; as we sat; in a flock; By the em; –bers in hearth . . . ’). As such, its supple, graceful quality invests the lines with something of the children’s own eager fluency of mind, such as will explicitly surface in the word ‘ease’ and the children’s visionary transports in the following stanza. No sooner are they seated and obedient, it seems, than their hearts and minds are free and in motion, open, pliable, and ready. Accordingly, this anapaestic motif is an important metrical signature and a vehicle for what the first half of the poem conveys, and revives, within the reader: the children’s own autonomic and easeful responsiveness, that youthful plasticity of mind that emerges as being no less spiritual and imaginative than physical and affective. Taken together, then, the two motifs in the first stanza begin to underscore how transformative the experience is for the children, as well as how dependent on the secure environment and the promptings of the elder. In the next stanza, the children will come to envision the oxen kneeling miraculously, but in both these opening stanzas the metre affects us in a comparable way, incorporating us within the past time, and the poem’s powerful chain of imaginative and spiritual transmission. And metre, one can suggest, is an expressive gateway here through which we imaginatively inhabit the minds and experience of the children who themselves – sitting in a flock – so easily envision the cattle kneeling, those cattle who are themselves in turn imagined as

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 179 envisioning the redeemer . . . The important crux here is that the metre ensures that we do not imagine the children as it were from the outside – as an ensemble who are depicted by the verse. Rather it crucially contributes to a remarkable effect of commutability that in the next stanza leads us into their imaginings of the oxen. In such respects, the poetry takes on and revives in the reader a certain visionary power of its own, operating outside of chronology and the self. But perhaps the most remarkable proof of our intimacy with the world of the children’s imagination is something that happens privately and spontaneously to each reader. That is to say, in the second stanza we come to see in our mind’s eye something that is nowhere described in the poem: we see not simply what the children imagine seeing – the oxen – but we see what they imagine the oxen themselves imagining: a nativity scene, with a stable, some animals, some straw, and an infant . . . So following the first stanza, it is not just the poet who is transported, but also the reader, the child, and even the cattle themselves, and all together. But how is this further developed through metre? o B -oB O B o b We pictured the meek mild creatures where o B -oB o B [B] They dwelt in their strawy pen, o B -o- B o B -oB Nor did it occur to one of us there o B -oB o B [B] To doubt they were kneeling then.

To begin with, one can note that this stanza continues to use the anapaestic motif to evoke the children’s flexible liveliness of vision. However, there is an important and twofold shift. Where the children’s quality of mind had primarily been merely evoked or implied through the anapaestic metre, now their picturing of the oxen is the explicit theme or topic of the stanza. So, the children’s activity of mind – engrossed as they are – is itself enclosed, as it were concentrically, within the adult’s own belated activity, as he first describes, then reflectively marvels at their imaginative facility and imperviousness to doubt. In considering the expressive contribution of metre to this verse, one can examine particularly how from the opening words Hardy uses a combination of iambic and anapaestic to produce a compound motif (o B -o- B). This functions throughout this second stanza to create a marked and recurrent effect of passage and tension, through which the speaker’s mind opens and closes, between merging with the children’s

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180 | V OICE and considering them from the adult’s vantage. In this way the anapaestic still definitely imparts an effect of expressive expansion here, suitable to the set-piece description of the children’s reveries of the cattle in their pen. However the overriding point here is that the poet continually employs the iambic (in square brackets following) to constrain these flights within the orbits of adult introspection. (‘[We pict]ured the meek; [They dwelt] in their strawy . . . [‘Nor did] it occur; [to one] of us there; [To doubt] they were kneeling’). Accordingly, this iambic-anapaestic motif expressively introduces into the poem the main thematic division of the poem, between the speaker’s enthusiasm for the imaginative freedoms of childhood, and the recurrence of dubious yet feeling adult awareness.14 Despite (or perhaps because) of this operative layering of the minds of adulthood and childhood it is within this stanza also that our inwardness with the children is most beautifully and deeply achieved. Consider the two phrases on consecutive lines that unfold the singular moments of their picturing of the ‘meek mild creatures’ in their ‘strawy pen’. In the first, the emphasized off-beat on the alliterative adjective ‘mild’ places the syllable half way between stressed and unstressed. There is a perfect appropriateness to this, since meekness is itself indeterminate between being a quality that the child responds to (in imagining it in the cattle) and a quality that he reveals (since it must be incarnated within oneself if one is to recognize and respond to it). Such effective indetermination or reciprocity between reception and generosity at this moment surprises the adult reader with the child’s forgotten, spontaneous, wholly unguarded sense of meekness as something within the self as well as outside it. Of course the circulating effect of meekness is abetted by the knowing echo of Charles Wesley’s lines ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild/Look upon a little child’, 15 a hymn where Christ himself is described as ‘gentle lamb’. Equally obvious though it is impossible not to contrast such trusting self-surrender with the benighted world of the war whose context borders the poem. In the second phrase, ‘strawy pen’, the writing marvellously eclipses the adult world to similar effect, incorporating again the reawakened sensibility of the child. Metrically, the line just slightly snags on the uncertain second syllable of ‘strawy’, catching the halting exactitudes of a child’s voice as he formulates, like a poet, his own original phrases. Further, this neologism implies the child’s own empathetic and imaginative transport into the world of the cattle, and his moving sense that the pen is a home, the place where they ‘dwelt’, even the place where they worshipped. The child’s receptive and meek attention to the cattle thus becomes transmitted to the dislocated adult who must receive it in kind, and accommodate their vision. In such ways, the reader is led

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 181 – like Hardy’s speaker at this moment – to see again through a child’s eyes, bringing to mind the Christian injunction to become as a little child, or Wesley’s final hope that the child’s reception of Christian meekness might led him to reveal to the whole world the ‘Holy Child, in me’.16 These poetic enactments then indubitably involve us – physically, affectively, and imaginatively – within these expansive moments of childhood reverie and vision at odds with the adult vigilance of an interiority entrenched and fenced round by scepticism, time, and doubt. The child’s mind reveals itself as what the adult has forgotten. But there is much more to this than what might appear merely sentimental wonder or nostalgic regret, not least since the child’s relation to the world can even be taken as a form of philosophical critique that exposes the inherent limitations of adult attitudes towards knowledge and belief. This might seem to be stretching things a little, but I think it is an idea worth briefly pursuing, if only because it allows one to emphasize again what seem the proper and innately philosophical dimensions of Hardy’s poetry. On this description, the child’s mind expresses essential and fundamental attitudes – receptivity, response, empathy, and imagination – that are not only opposed to sceptical subjectivity, but which trump it because they are more fundamental than it. Which is itself another way of saying, as some philosophers have done, that our deepest relation to the world is not one of knowledge or belief, but could be described as something like a form of acknowledgement (Cavell) or dwelling (Heidegger) or reception (Emerson). Here I would add one further philosophical gloss, perhaps the most compelling in terms of the poem’s own meaning. The childhood responses unfolded in ‘The Oxen’ can be said to reveal what Wittgenstein would describe as an essential attunement – towards community, relationship, and shared meaning – that is based in spontaneous kinds of disposition characteristic of human beings, and revealing kinds of judgement that go beyond (and before) the cognitive distinctions of what is natural or conventional. Or you might say such expressions of mind are both natural and conventional at once, that our capacity for language is naturally social in essence and in its conditions, and naturally dependent on our making the same kinds of automatic response and projective judgements when an older person teaches us something.17 It is this seemingly ungrounded attunement, as the necessary basis of language and socialty, that the adult sceptic has forgotten, in his search to ground our conception of reality in what is now definitively seen as a matter of knowledge, doubt, and belief.18 In the third stanza, the shift back to such a sceptical adult self

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182 | V OICE occurs, as the speaker regrets the fading of such stories as the elders shared with the children: o B o B o B o B So fair a fancy few would weave o B o B o B [B] In these years! Yet, I feel, o B o B o B o B If someone said on Christmas Eve, B ô B o B o B “Come; see the oxen kneel,

Metre and sound again express the tension between present and past in the adult who regretfully meditates on his displacement from the earlier time, when the children displayed an unreflective collective readiness for a transfigured world. Outwardly the poem begins contemplatively, reflecting on the disharmony of the unimaginative present in what seems an unexceptional iambic metre and culminating in a rueful exclamation point (‘So fair a fancy few would weave / In these years!). However, the truth is more subtly expressive and complex. One cannot but be struck by the exquisite alliterative effects and musical echoes of the opening line, ‘So fair a fancy few would weave’, which speak of a mind that still turns its own phrases in wistful emulation of the intricate, enchanting weavings of the past. The division that this suggests – between the longing for past fancy and the sense of the diminished present – is also evident metrically. This is so because these alliterative phrases importantly suggest a secondary, cross-rhythm, creating a centripetal tendency that pulls against the otherwise customary, unrelieved iambic metre. The specific effect I am describing here is that by which alliteration leads to an echo of the BoB motif earlier associated with the elders’ instructions to the children (‘fair a fancy/ few would weave’). Notably too, this possible syncopation of this recalled BoB motif recurs again in the opening of the second sentence (‘Yet I feel’). The effect of this is that the former rhythmical effect (BoB), associated with the transcendent import of the ‘fair’ fancies of the past, haunts the seemingly regular and conventional iambic metre associated with the sober world of the present. And, as if under the pressure of the speaker’s residual, abiding longing for the transports of the past, the word ‘Yet’ leads his former capacity for imagination to rise irresistibly to the surface of consciousness, however much he might concede it to be mere fantasy. In this way, ‘Yet’ introduces the subdued fancy of the poem’s final scenario: the reverie of the anonymous figure

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 183 who comes to invite him to see the kneeling oxen. The iambic metre may retain its outward prevalence in the stanza, but in the final line it is disrupted with the implied off beat between the two consecutive beats on ‘Come’ and ‘See’. This gives a powerful sense of pause, as the man is imagined addressing the poet and soliciting a response, with an injunction that ironically replicates the former scene between children and elder: B ô B o B o B “Come; see the oxen kneel,

Once again then, the metre expressively implies what the poem comes to make explicit: the speaker’s abiding desire for transcendence at odds with his conscious sense of reality. The final stanza goes on movingly to acknowledge and unfold this fact: though now old, he cannot but admit that he would follow this anonymous figure, hoping against hope in the gloom and emptiness of the present to replicate the child’s experience of a scene of wonder and instruction.19 The earlier scene with the elder is thus partially reprised, as he imagines being invited to revisit the now ‘lonely’ farmyard of his childhood, and to ready himself for an event of transcendence: -o- B o B -o- B o B In the lonely barton by yonder coomb o B o B o B [B] Our childhood used to know,” -oB o O -oB I should go with him in the gloom, B -o- B o b [B] Hoping it might be so.

Metrically, this stanza reprises the interweaving of iambic and anapaestic, though in the first three lines this is reversed so that a dominant anapaestic-iambic (–o-BoB) motif replaces the iambic-anapaestic one (oB-o-B) that figured in the second stanza. That earlier motif had expressed the untrammelled imagination of childhood in dynamic alternation and commerce with the conventional circuits of adult memory and awareness. But in this final stanza, the reversed motif has the effect of more definitively subjecting the anapaestic to the iambic in a way that communicates a regretful and weary tone of age and loss. Where the earlier effect had been of reflectively moderating a certain influx of insurgent and unself-conscious childish inspiration, the later one is emphatically of an encroaching sense of

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184 | V OICE belatedness and displacement. He is an aged speaker now consciously taking absent vision – the pursuit and lack of it – as his conscious theme, and inevitably constrained by his lowering awareness of the present time as a gloomy dead-end. So, the opening line is composed of two successive occasions of this –o-B o B motif. The combined effect is subtly, but unmistakeably, to underscore this overall sense of the poet holding here, now consciously, to the vanishing possibilities for vision in a situation increasingly overshadowed by age, loneliness, and doubt. Metrically, this deflation is also clearly further accentuated by the flat iambic regularity of the second line: ‘Our childhood used to know’. Moving to the end of the poem, the closing lines are the culmination of the speaker’s abiding position on the threshold of belief, unable to abandon, inhabit, or endorse faith, or to prevent himself pursuing it. So he states that he would ‘go with’ the imagined man ‘in the gloom’. The latter appears as a mysterious figure, possibly reminiscent, like the vagrant figure in ‘Christmastide’ of some visitor in a Christian story who might beckon another to ‘come’ and follow, concealing perhaps beneath an unprepossessing exterior the miraculous identity of an angel. Appropriately enough, the metre contributes to this final faint sense of mystery and indeterminacy in the penultimate line. Earlier in the poem we have noted the eloquent use of the emphasized off-beat – not quite a beat, not quite an off-beat – on the word ‘mild’ that gave an immersive and poignant sense of the child’s gentle intuition of the oxen as gentle creatures. In this line, the emphasized off-beat is used again to important and similar effect on the equally significant word, ‘him’: -oB o O -oB I should go with him in the gloom,

Metrically, this emphasized off-beat importantly disrupts the expected return of the stanza’s anapaestic-iambic motif.20 Further, as an understated half-stress, it creates a perfectly appropriate sense of mutedly hopeful uncertainty. My preference for the emphasized off-beat means that I read the line as slowing here, as if the speaker were imagining his progress as a series of blind steps into the unknown and contingent, his attitude still one of receptivity, though the identity of his companion is uncertain. Finally, these feature accord with the reading of the closing line where the speaker memorably gives final voice to his continuing, if doubtful, readiness for belief, and hope:

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‘Hardy’s Two Voices’ | 185 B -o- B o b [B] Hoping it might be so.

The metre conveys this muted affirmation through the faintest uplift imparted by the double off-beat. Though bounded by the preceding beat, this is also followed by a beat and then an iambic construction (ob). Accordingly, one might hear within this final line the echo of the first stanza’s anapaestic-iambic motif associated with childhood ([Hop]/ing it might/ be so’). In this way, the poem draws together in this final collusion of metre and meaning the poem’s double, contrary sense of poetry: that its enactments and imaginative flights retain in a reduced form the redemptive promise of religion. As for Hardy himself, it seems, the poetic sensibility essentially occupies a location evacuated by belief, yet still stoical and open towards hope, and expressing an attitude bounded by scepticism yet always beyond it.

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Notes Preface 1 Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1975), 177. 2 Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (London: Macmillan, 1974), 23. 3 Thomas Hardy, The Complete Poems, ed. James Gibson (London: Macmillan, 1976), 558. 4 Thomas Hardy, Thomas Hardy’s ‘Poetical Matter’ Notebook, ed. Pamela Dalziel and Michael Millgate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 5. 5 These essays appear more or less in their already published form, aside from some cuts, revisions, and interpolations for continuity (and to minimize redundancy and repetition). 6 The first chapter, ‘Hardy and Music’ includes material published in the earlier book, but is included because it offers a survey of Hardy’s writing about music in various genres at the turn of the century that hopefully provides a useful access to the two chapters that follow. 7 Through exploring how Hardy writes about music, one can examine thematically his vision of the essential features of individuality as a function of occasions of relatedness and memory, while also demonstrating how the reciprocal features of form and style contribute to this. 8 This chapter – previously published in a collection on Deleuze and Modernism – clearly offers a more theoretically inflected reading than other parts of the book, but the discussion is designed to be self-evident conceptually. 9 John Hughes, Affective Worlds: Writing, Reading & Feeling in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2011). 10 This conception is at odds with theoretical or methodological models that depend on more stable conceptions of identity and text (even if these might both conceived as historically constituted or linguistically deconstituted). The following passage from the earlier book introduces a lengthy theoretical discussion of this: While valuing these theoretical approaches, then, I remain suspicious of moves that axiomatically, as it were, identify literary subjectivity (whether that of reader, writer, character or narrator/speaker) as an effect of historical discourses; or as a position within the ideological apparatus; or as an aporetic mirage projected by an epistemologically dysfunctional language; or as an

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Notes to Introduction | 187

11

12 13 14

15

interiority riven and constituted by a deeper unconscious or textual ground . . . In each of these respective cases – roughly corresponding to New Historicist, Marxist, deconstructive or psychoanalytical positions – it is not the suspicion of an essentialist, substantive, subject that is the problem, but the way that the suspicion itself accounts for the text in terms of a transcendental field that negates the affective, individual, manifestations of subjectivity. Such notions are commonly conceived and disposed of as the residue of a defunct humanism, an ideological mystification, a logocentric fiction, a mytheme, an ‘author-function’, and so on. (Hughes, Affective Worlds, 5) Certainly, one can feel that this lowering persona is all too evident in what come across as detachable chunks of commentary in the fiction, or halfbaked, rigid preoccupations, regrettable pronouncements, or dispirited attitudes in certain poems. Dan Jacobson (in the article cited in note 13 below) gave a witty and incisive account of the familiar way Hardy would interpolate unmediated and lowering pronouncements within his writing. Yet, such emphases can too easily mask the genuine philosophical aspects of his work, as Jacobson also argues. Virginia Woolf, ‘The Novels of Thomas Hardy’, The Common Reader, ed. Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth, 1986), 254. Dan Jacobson, ‘Thomas Hardy: The Poet as Philosopher’, The American Scholar, Vol. 65, 1 (1996), 115. With respect to Deleuze, it is worth saying that his treatment of such themes can be traced back to his engagements with philosophers such as Bergson, Spinoza, Kant, or Nietzsche. Further, in identifying and developing the key idea of subjective expression in the book, I draw on common themes in the work of Deleuze and Cavell: discussions not only of the interconnection of literature and philosophy, but also of individuation, voice, music, becoming, sensitivity, affectivity, and response. This critical approach helps, I believe, to articulate crucial issues in reading Hardy, while also allowing for a recasting of critical ideas that have been subject to kinds of theoretical and methodological exemption in literary studies for many years: such as intentionality (seen as intrinsic to intonation in poetry, and hence to meaning and interpretation) and individuality (seen as intrinsic to the expressive work of style in literature). In developing this aspect of my argument then Cavell’s work, along with that of Gilles Deleuze, will inform what follows at points, though hopefully their influences are far enough assimilated within my own practice of reading to avoid the discussions seeming schematic or obscure, or even unduly noticeable.

Introduction 1 Tom Paulin, The Poetry of Perception (London: Macmillan, 1975), 190. 2 By this system, metre arranges [and demotes and promotes] the syllabic emphases of our speech in terms of beats and off-beats. A key to the

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188 | Notes to Introduction

3

4 5

6

7

8

9 10

various symbols or rhythmical markers is given below, derived from Thomas Carper and Derek Attridge, Meter and Meaning (London: Routledge, 2003), 147: B beat [emphasized syllable] b beat [unemphasized syllable] [B] virtual beat [no syllable] (perceived at the end of trimeter lines, as in ballad stanzas) o offbeat [unemphasized syllable] O offbeat [emphasized syllable] -o- double offbeat [two unemphasized syllables] (one – very rarely, both – of the two syllables that comprise an off-beat may be emphasized (=): =o-, -o=, =o=) [o] virtual offbeat [no syllable, perceived offbeat] ô implied offbeat [no syllable, necessary rhythmical pause} ~o~ triple offbeat [three unemphasized syllables] (exceedingly rare in stricter metrical styles) The unheard yet implied beat (in square brackets at the end of each line above) contributes to this effect too, since it indicates how the line needs resolution in the mind of the listener. Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (London: Macmillan, 1974), 155. It is hard not to see a strange, polarized, Hardeyan logic also in the circumstances under which his heart was buried (as he himself had wished to have been) in Stinsford churchyard, while his body was taken to Westminster Abbey (an arrangement whose manifold ironic intricacies are explored with wry expertise in Mark Ford’s Half a Londoner [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016, 1–16]). He then also gives the tortuous narrative of his love for Louisa beset by shyness and convoluted efforts to attend her church worthy of a courtly lover (F. E. Hardy, Life, 26). Frank Hedgcock, Thomas Hardy: Penseur et Artiste (Paris: Libraire Hatchette, 1911) and Ernest Brennecke, Jr, The Life of Thomas Hardy (New York: Greenberg, 1925). Again, there was the Hardy who left Max Gate through the rear door when he spied a journalist; who burned the correspondence with Emma; and who concocted the writing of the Life as an exercise in often comically contorted self-edited self-revelation, and many other such episodes. Lois Deacon and Terry Coleman, Providence and Mr Hardy (London: Hutchinson, 1966). Angelique Richardson exposed how ramshackle, even preposterous, Frizzle’s hypothesis really was, though not before it had generated a massive amount of media exposure that testified to people’s seeming automatic readiness to believe that the truth of the relationship of the Hardy must correspond to something hidden and secret. See her ‘Thomas Hardy: Neither boring nor syphilitic’, Critical Quarterly, Vol. 50, 1–2 (2008), 234–39

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Notes to Introduction | 189 11 Andrew Norman, Thomas Hardy: Behind the Mask (Stroud: History Press, 2011), 9. 12 David Amigoni, ‘Life and Life’, in Thomas Hardy in Context, ed. Phillip Mallett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 3. 13 Yet throughout, the Life is illuminated by small episodes or notes that exemplify how his writing is motivated by the desire to express and meditate on events of susceptibility and sympathetic resonance, as with the description of the singing of a Miss Marsh who could draw ‘out the soul of listeners in a gradual thread of excruciating attenuation like silk from a cocoon.’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 118) The mixture of pathos, humour, and sensitivity in such a passage, in a prose that embeds itself in commonplace experience while also plumbing profound aspects of human identity, is pure Hardy, and of a piece with the concerns of this book. 14 ‘September 28. [1877] An object of mark raised or made by man on a scene is worth ten times any such formed by unconscious Nature. Hence clouds, mists, and mountains are unimportant beside the wear on a threshold, or the print of a hand.’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 116) 15 In recent years there have been immensely valuable discussions of Hardy’s literary Wessex and what it represented to him, both personally and artistically. Simon Gatrell traced its formation and contexts in Thomas Hardy’s Vision of Wessex (London: Palgrave, 2003). Rosemarie Morgan with Scott Rode described how Wessex as a construct went far beyond ‘a commercial ploy or […] nostalgic re-creation’ and ‘pastoral’ (177) to become the locus for all the historical and personal divisions with which his work was concerned (Rosemarie Morgan with Scott Rode, ‘The Evolution of Wessex’, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy [Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010], 157–77). Mark Ford has also broadly suggested that the creation of the imaginative realm of ‘Wessex’ was a project by which Hardy sought to transmute the painful fractures of ambition and lived experience into his pursuit of literary immortality, and so bridge the gulf between the metropolitan market and family history. (Mark Ford, Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner [Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2016]). 16 Thomas Hardy, ‘The Dorsetshire Labourer’, in Thomas Hardy: Selected Poetry and Non-Fictional Prose, ed. Peter Widdowson (London: Macmillan, 1997), 266. 17 Merryn and Raymond Williams, ‘Hardy and Social Class’ in Thomas Hardy: The Writer and His Background, ed. Norman Page (London: Bell & Hyman, 1980), 32. 18 Simon Gatrell, ‘The Public Hardy’, in Hardy in Context, ed. Mallett, 33. 19 This perceived gap from his readers is evident for example in the opening passage where the adoption of a disinterested literary persona co-exists with a rueful undertow regarding the prejudices and non-comprehension of his urban readership who denote the ‘rural poor of the south-west’, under the label of ‘Hodge’:

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20 21 22

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It seldom happens that a nickname which affects to portray a class is honestly indicative of the individuals composing that class. The few features distinguishing them from other bodies of men have been seized on and exaggerated, while the incomparably more numerous features common to all humanity have been ignored. (Hardy, ‘Dorsetshire Labourer’, 265). Lucas, John, Modern English Poetry from Hardy to Hughes (London: Batsford, 1986), 49. Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders (London: Macmillan, 1974), 113. Linda M. Shires, ‘The Radical Aesthetic of Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ in The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Dale Kramer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 157–58. From the ‘General Preface to the Wessex Edition of 1912’, rpt. Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 446. Stephen C. Pepper, ‘Philosophy and Metaphor’, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 25, 5 (1928), 130. Iris Murdoch’s remarks on the centrality of metaphor in philosophical systematizing are also apposite: The development of consciousness in human beings is inseparably connected with the use of metaphor. Metaphors are not merely peripheral decorations or even useful models, they are fundamental forms of our awareness of our condition: metaphors of space, metaphors of movement, metaphors of vision. Philosophy […] has in the past often concerned itself with what it took to be our most important images, clarifying existing ones and developing new ones. Philosophical argument which consists of such image-play, I mean the great metaphysical systems, is usually inconclusive, and is regarded by many contemporary thinkers as valueless. Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 77. Obvious examples might be Kant’s architechtonic, Nietzsche’s dicethrow, or Plato’s city. To sharpen for illustrative purposes the important theoretical difference with de Man then, one might say that the imbrication of metaphor and cognition here is not an irreducibly negative condition of language, but a positive attribute of a productive and secular open-endedness of thought, and a celebration of language’s capacity creatively to pursue more inclusive, multiple, and individual interpretations of reality. More broadly, in recent years there has been valuable theoreticallyinformed work on Hardy’s writing that has construed its intrinsic philosophical cogency and investigation of subjectivity in ways that fundamentally turn on Hardy’s engagement of philosophical issues. Julian Wolfreys and Jane Thomas, for example, have respectively offered Derridean and psychoanalytical views of his thought that respect and expand the nuances of Hardy’s writing. Wolfreys identifies a Hardy whose modernity is identifiable with his critical displacement from a past

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whose uncanny and insistent traces endlessly haunt and discompose him. Thomas offers a Lacanian description of Hardy that reinflects J. Hillis Miller’s description of desire in Distance and Desire ([Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press], 1970) within the asymptotic condition of subjectivity as a self-lack endlessly compelled by the phantasmatic lure of the other through which it seeks realization. (Julian Wolfreys, Thomas Hardy [London: Palgrave, 2009] and Jane Thomas, Thomas Hardy and Desire [London: Palgrave, 2013]). Gilles Deleuze, ‘Expressionism in Philosophy’: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books, 1992) and Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988). In form and content, the poem might thus be linked for instance, to Spinoza’s active natura naturans, as a power or essence of Being that manifests, differentiates, and unfolds itself in the successive determinations and masks that it expressively assumes as natura naturata. Expressive renewal is perhaps another phrase for the idea of becoming that emerged in the reading of ‘According to the Mighty Working’ above. Within this broader discussion of critical approach, the idea of becoming is one that can importantly be linked to the work of Cavell and Deleuze. For the former, it would be linked with his ‘perfectionist’ ethics, and with his bringing together of ethics and epistemology in his description of an eventual self-transformation beyond the confining metaphysical desire of scepticism (for a fuller description of this see note 38 below in this Introduction). For Deleuze, the idea of becoming was similarly connected with philosophical critique and the rejection of transcendence, and was described in terms of immanence as a zone of creativity and expressive variation, where the crucial ideas in his work are those of the event, the encounter, and becoming. As Chapter 4 will show, Deleuze described Hardy’s work as exemplifying an empiricist metaphysic that he saw as characteristic of Anglo-American literature, and at odds with philosophical fables of rational transcendence and social subjectification. Jacobson identified Hardy’s vocabulary and neologisms with the philosophical at the conclusion of his essay: In the poems I am speaking of, Hardy was working at the very limits of the thinkable – of that which it is possible for our brains to encompass. In order to do this, he was also compelled to work at the very limits of the language – of that which it is possible for us to say. Hence the necessity he felt constantly to invent new words. As readers we witness his attempts to create a language that would enable him to say not only everything he wanted to say, but also, more remarkably still, everything he knew he would never be able to say. (Jacobson, ‘Thomas Hardy: The Poet as Philosopher’, 118) From a more purely philosophical view too, the reader’s activity can be

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192 | Notes to Introduction linked to what can be described as the poem’s philosophical critique by other means, as it forces the reader into an activity corresponding to the poet’s thematic contesting of false metaphysical (as well as cultural) stabilities. So what does this amount to here? This can be approached again through the idea of attunement, as the act of judgment by which words force a response from us, inciting us to construe and project them. For Cavell, as for Wittgenstein, correspondence and agreement among users in such acts are the primary, necessary, and irreducible bedrock of language use, and its formation as a social institution. This disposition – to accept and understand this word, eventually and commonly, in this way; to take this as a case of what this word denotes; to agree on how we take and project words – is a natural fact about human beings. Which of course is perhaps not to argue that language is natural, so much as that the capacity for convention is natural. In the following passage Cavell describes these ideas of agreement and attunement: The idea of agreement here is not that of coming to or arriving at an agreement on a given occasion but of being in agreement throughout, being in harmony, like pitches, or tones, or clocks, or weighing scales, or columns of figures . . . Wittgenstein is partly motivated to philosophy by a perception of the attunement of one human being’s words with those of others. Another part of his motivation is a perception that they sometimes are out of tune, that they do not agree. That is, in the Investigations, hauntingly the case in philosophizing, and the disagreements in question are typically not those of philosophers with one another but of philosophers with the words of ordinary human beings. (Cavell, The Claim of Reason, 32) This suggests a description of the function of poetry perhaps, as an activity of language that makes us re-enact our discovery of this attunement, within ourselves and others, through the discovery that we now have the autonomy and occasion to find meaning. 32 Norman Page, ‘Hardy and the English Language’, in Thomas Hardy: The Writer and his Background, ed. Norman Page (London: Bell & Hyman, 1980), 156. 33 Norman Page has identified Hardy’s exclusion from more than a very modest amount of formal education with his ‘individual mode of regard’ (Norman Page, ‘Art and Aesthetics’ in The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Dale Kramer [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 41). Consequently, Hardy’s affirmation of the quotidian and the everyday, was one that sought to raise to expression aspects of experience screened out by the syntheses and rigid hierarchies, of a classbased metropolitan ideology. Hardy, writes Page, ‘[s]ought to extend the boundaries of poetic sensibility by an expression of new types of beauty and significance which he found in the ugly and the commonplace’ (Page, ‘Art and Aesthetics’, 40). 34 Robert Schweik, ‘The Influence of Religion, Science, and Philosophy on

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Notes to Introduction | 193 Hardy’s Writing’ in The Cambridge Companion, ed. Kramer, 54. 35 John Hughes, ‘Ecstatic Sound’: Music and Individuality in the Work of Thomas Hardy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 201–29. 36 Thomas Hardy, The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy, Vol. 1, ed. Lennart A. Björk (New York: New York University Press, 1985), 74. 37 Phillip Mallett, ‘Hardy and Philosophy’, in A Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Keith Wilson (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 25. An interesting strand in Mallett’s discussion is its focused chronology and context for Hardy’s relationships with friends who were philosophers or of a philosophical bent, including Horace Moule, Leslie Stephen, John Morley, Fredric Harrison, Edward Clodd, and John McTaggart. However, the main focus of the essay is on how Hardy’s ‘reading of four thinkers – Comte, Darwin, Mill, and Schopenhauer’ provided him not with the material for a consistent philosophy so much as models of thinking based in what Mallett eloquently terms ‘an urgent need to question the terms on which we hold our existence’ (Mallett, ‘Hardy and Philosophy’, 34). 38 Thomas Hardy, ‘The Profitable Reading of Fiction’, in Hardy: Selected Poetry and Non-Fictional Prose, ed. Widdowson, 245. 39 Cavell has written very extensively about the interrelations of literature and philosophy, exploring each in terms of a central confrontation with philosophical scepticism as a recurrent (and ineradicable) tendency of thought, through which the sceptic aspires to a more than human relation to language. The sceptic’s dissociative impetus involves a rejection of the contingencies (and fallibilities) of human agreement, intimacy, and connection within ordinary language. This involves him in subliming our ordinary words, as he aspires to an inviolable kind of certainty beyond our true condition in finitude, and the socially constrained criteria of our words. 40 Stanley Cavell, The Claim of Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), 351. 41 Contrarily, Hardy is a great writer of ecstatic possibility, and the allure (as well as transience or irony) of romance or desire. So the question might be how the loss of the world or the exposure of the self might be dramatized and represented as the loss of expressive relatedness. One can ponder also how Hardy’s innate powers of a writer are so bound up with female desire, as a power of immediacy and spontaneity seeking expression outside of what is knowable or social. In a hypothetical spirit one could rehearse a typology of Hardy’s women, perhaps seeing Eustacia in this respect as one kind of presiding spirit of Hardy’s fiction, unable to forgo the lure of romantic ecstasy; while Tess is the one who cannot escape the design of others; Ethelberta is the one who must conceal herself; Sue is the one who cannot reveal herself; and so on. 42 Stanley Cavell, Must We Mean What We Say? Updated edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 228. Only the literary critic, one might think, bent on theoretical simplicity, could believe in

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194 | Notes to Chapter 1 ideas of the transparency to us at all times of the intentions that shape our words.

1 ‘Souls Unreconciled to Life’: Hardy and Music 1 John Bayley, An Essay on Hardy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 40. 2 Thomas Hardy, The Collected Stories of Thomas Hardy, Vol. 2, ed. F. B. Pinion (London: Macmillan, 1977), 125. 3 Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (London: Dent, 1984), 80. 4 Thomas Hardy, The Well-Beloved (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 66. 5 Caroline Jackson-Houlston, ‘Thomas Hardy’s Use of Traditional Song’, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 44, 3 (1989), 301–34. 6 Joan Grundy, Hardy and the Sister Arts (London: Macmillan, 1979), 139. 7 Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues II, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (London: Athlone, 1987), 30. 8 Dialogues II offers a useful access also to Deleuze’s use of Spinoza’s philosophy as elucidating the expressive and affective bases of human identity, composed on the twin parallel attributes of body and soul. See for instance, 44–47. 9 It is perhaps the key idea in Bayley’s book, though explored in many different formulations, as here for instance: The text is like a landscape of which the constituent parts – cows, birds, trees, grass – pay no attention to one another, although they appear as a total composition to the beholder, the reader. The metaphor does not quite do, but it may convey something of the complex pleasure in attending to Hardy. (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 31) 10 Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology (London: Verso, 1976), Penny Boumelha, Thomas Hardy and Women (Brighton: Harvester, 1982), John Goode, Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988), Peter Widdowson, Hardy in History (London: Routledge, 1989), Rosemarie Morgan, Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (London: Routledge, 1989), Roger Ebbatson, Hardy: The Margin of the Unexpressed (Sheffield: Continuum, 1992), and Joe Fisher, The Hidden Hardy (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1992). 11 Thomas Hardy, The Collected Stories of Thomas Hardy, Vol. 1, ed. F.B. Pinion (London: Macmillan, 1977), 171. 12 B. E. Maidment, ‘Hardy’s Fiction and English Traditional Music’, Thomas Hardy Annual , No. 4 (1986),17. 13 John Lucas, ‘Hardy Among the Poets’, Critical Survey, Vol. 5, 2 (1993), 200. 14 Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, An Introduction to Literature, Theory, Practice (Brighton: Harvester, 1995), 61–63.

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Notes to Chapter 2 | 195 2 ‘Tune and Thought’: The Uses of Music in Hardy’s Poetry 1 Ralph Pite, Thomas Hardy: The Guarded Life (London: Picador, 2006), 2. 2 Claire Tomalin, Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man (London: Viking, 2006), 365. 3 F. B. Pinion in A Hardy Companion (London: Macmillan, 1968), and Joan Grundy in Hardy and the Sister Arts offer broad and valuable accounts of how music informed Hardy’s work and life. More recently, there have appeared book-length studies of Hardy’s musicality, and the representation of music in his work: Caroline Jackson-Houlston, ‘Ballads, Songs and Snatches’: The Appropriation of Folk Song and Popular Culture in British 19thCentury Realist Prose (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), Hughes, ‘Ecstatic Sound’: Note 35 in Introduction above), and Mark Asquith, Thomas Hardy, Metaphysics and Music (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005). For discussions of the poetry in relation to musical settings, see Gillian Beer, ‘The Senses of Musical Settings in Hardy’s Poetry,’ The Thomas Hardy Journal, Vol. 22 (Autumn 2006), 7–14: Claire Seymour, ‘‘‘A Song Outlasts a Dynasty”: Gerald Finzi’s Settings of Thomas Hardy’s Poetry’, The Thomas Hardy Journal, Vol. 22 (Autumn 2006), 15–32. Other work that pursues the representation of music in the poetry include Daniel Karlin, ‘The Figure of the Singer in the Poetry of Thomas Hardy’, in The Achievement of Thomas Hardy, ed. Phillip Mallett (London: Macmillan, 2000), 117–36, and Tim Armstrong, ‘Hardy, History and Recorded Music’, in Thomas Hardy and Contemporary Literary Studies, ed. Tim Dolin and Peter Widdowson (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004), 153–66. 4 There has also been a good deal of work on the place of music in representing and shaping Victorian culture. See for instance, Phyllis Weliver’s two books and her edition of essays: Women Musicians in Victorian Fiction, 1860–1900 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture and Nation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and (editor) The Figure of Music in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005).There is also Delia Da Sousa Correa’s George Eliot, Music and Victorian Culture (London: Palgrave, 2002). The emergence of a journal like NineteenthCentury Music Review is another index of the growth of the field, as is Ashgate’s ‘Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ series (both these two last under the editorship or General Editorship of Bennett Zon). 5 Philip Larkin, ‘The Poetry of Hardy’, in Required Writing; Miscellaneous Pieces, 1955–1982 (London: Faber, 1983), 175. 6 From Cockerell’s diary in the British Museum, cited by Tomalin, Thomas Hardy, 338. 7 It seems that Hardy’s private fantasy (or public fiction, disseminated in the Life), was that his mother was socially superior to his father (possibly a bluff against her pre-marital pregnancy). The faintly pernickety phrase ‘in her pride’s despite’, for instance, has a Hardeyan concentration, so

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that one catches within it a suggestion of a certain ruffled conscious irritation on her part both at his presumption of dominance, and the sexual initiative, and her unconscious desire for it. Another aspect of this is how time, in the musical sense of regular intervals between beats, is subject to stretching and condensing, to the incursions of local collocations of beat and alliteration. Between ‘high’ and ‘pew’, for instance, there is an elided off-beat, introducing a variable usage of almost Anglo-Saxon medial pauses that runs through the poem and contributes in a subliminal way perhaps to the dialogic drama, preverbal in various ways, that is played out in the poem, and that is in its own kind of dramatic proximity to the traditions of Church, marriage, English poetry, from which Hardy departs and returns to, with his own kind of respectful originality. The marriage vow is, of course, one of J. L. Austin’s most celebrated performatives. J. L. Austin, How to Do Things With Words, ed. J. O. Urmson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 5–6. The poem seems to describe a location that can still be glimpsed from the window of the upstairs room that the very young Hardy occupied in Westbourne Park Villas. ‘Afternoon Service at Mellstock’ is a comparable musical poem, and echoed at the beginning of ‘An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress’. The complexity is increased by the fact that the speaking voice in the poem is uncertainly situated between being perhaps Hardy’s own, and/or that of the ‘jaunty young man’ of Hicks’s architectural office, whose recollections they may be (F. E. Hardy, Life, 123). This idea is discussed in Carper and Attridge’s Meter and Meaning (26– 28). Describing Robert Herrick’s ‘To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time’, they refer to how ‘the missing fourth beat is felt as an evident pause when the line is performed’, so that the mind’s ear, as it were, supplies the missing beat to equalize the stanza’s lines. Lucas writes of ‘those poems where Hardy’s own voice is invaded by another, or where the isolated “I” gives way to the collective, communal “we” or “they”; the moment of invasion is nearly always marked by a shift from iambic to anapaestic (anapaestic is the typical metre of ballad or hymn, that is, of song, shared utterance)’ (Lucas, ‘Hardy Among the Poets’, 200). ‘The Temporary the All’ (first poem in Wessex Poems), takes this inability to be happy in the moment as an abiding failing, while implying that happiness would reside in being able to value what ‘change and chancefulness’ bring, without ‘looking away’: Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime, Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen; Wrought us fellowlike, and despite divergence, Fused us in friendship. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 7) Mark Asquith writes that Hardy’s representation of music in his fiction is fundamentally linked to its development of a governing metaphysic of

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disappointment, a Schopenhauerian vision of blind, random, partanthropomorphized, universal processes inimical to human will. This incarnates and formalizes Hardy’s temperamental sense that world and consciousness were not made for each other (Asquith, Thomas Hardy, 32–46). As Tess’s narrator puts it, there are ‘two forces at work […] everywhere, the inherent will to enjoy; and the circumstantial will against enjoyment’ – or as Hardy writes in a notebook entry of 30 October 1870, ‘Mother’s notion, and also mine: That a figure stands in our van with an arm uplifted, to knock us back from any pleasant prospect we indulge in as probable’ (The Personal Notebooks of Thomas Hardy, ed., Richard H. Taylor [London: Macmillan, 1978], 6–7. Dennis Taylor, Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988), 52–54. Further discussion could explore the prose version of it that turned up in the story, ‘An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress’. This story was itself a text bowdlerized from Hardy’s first beginnings as a writer – the early lost, iconoclastic (not to say incendiary) novel, ‘The Poor Man and the Lady’. Metrical analysis will emphasize the powerful rhythmical sway of the writing as a means of access this outwardly-bound, collective and musicalized, experience from the past. But the child’s affective merging with the outer scene also perhaps subtly intimates something further: how the child’s openness to the scene involved itself a continuity with earlier, undifferentiated, affects of infancy, so that time itself appears to be opened by music, betraying different, resonating and superposed layers of individuality outside of rational and social constructions of the self. What is remarkable then perhaps here is not simply that Hardy has recovered through music the affects of childhood past, but that he has also recovered how that past moment was itself fractured, and reverberated with earlier states. The rhythmical potency of these lines reiterates the point made earlier in this chapter: that memory for Hardy has an invasive – Proustian, or Bergsonian – power of return here. The quotation is from Psalm 28 in Tate-and-Brady, and is from page 33 of the pdf online facsimile of the 1832 edition of Tate-and-Brady (page 29 in the document itself). This is available online: http://imslp.nl/imglnks/usimg/3/3b/IMSLP265710-PMLP430596psalms_npsal00brad_tunes_amsterdam_english_church.pdf. Thus, the constraints, losses, and doubtful gains, of the ‘subtle thoughts’ of later life are clearly staged in the static, restraining, socializing aspect of the scene, as the children stand in the ‘panelled pew’. Finally then, such metrical analysis does not merely close reading, but underlines too how subtly and skilfully wound into his disjunctive, modern, ironic view of things, were Hardy’s uses of metre, despite the uncomprehending denigrations of critics that led him to justify what seemed mere ‘irregularity’ in the Life:

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He shaped his poetry accordingly, introduced metrical pauses, and reversed beats; and found for his trouble that some particular line of a poem exemplifying this principle was greeted with a wouldbe jocular remark that such a line ‘did not make for immortality’ (F. E. Hardy, Life, 301). Tim Armstrong, ‘Hardy, History, and Recorded Music’, in Thomas Hardy and Contemporary Literary Studies, ed. Tim Dolin and Peter Widdowson (London: Palgrave, 2004), 154. http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/rpr/index.php/article-index/12-articles/519pitt-rivers-and-thomas-hardy.html Possibly these were from some of the buildings of the Pleasure Gardens assembled in the grounds by Pitt-Rivers, and described by Desmond Hawkins (since the party ate outside), though it may be Hardy refers to the rooms in the house itself: Here he assembled buildings from the Indian Exhibition at Earl’s Court, an openair theatre and other buildings and follies of his own design in the ferme ornée tradition. (Desmond Hawkins, Concerning Agnes [Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1982], 2) Hawkins paid tribute to ‘her vitality and her sense of style’, and claimed that [s]he cared deeply about many things and she fought in her way for her aspirations and her ideals’. (Hawkins, Concerning Agnes, 3) Concerning Hardy, he wrote: No-one denied her beauty, the fascination of her presence. As a woman and an aristocrat she was perhaps committed, in her generation, to a dilettantism that could not concentrate her talents sufficiently. Hardy, with his exceptional susceptibility to the latent powers in women, responded to the wayward streak of originality in her, the panache, the endless striving. (Hawkins, Concerning Agnes, 140) Paul Turner wrote that the allusion to Kalupso was ‘almost too apt, for Calypso’s Greek name meant “covered” or “concealed”, and she kept Odysseus away from his wife in the Odyssey, just as Hardy’s concealed feelings about Agnes Grove must have helped to estrange him from Emma in 1895’ (Paul Turner, The Life of Thomas Hardy [Oxford: Blackwell, 1998], 267).

3 ‘Music and Context’: Hardy’s Poetry and Fiction 1 This discussion comes to the topic of musical expressivity in Hardy’s life and fiction by way of a more concerted survey of some of the most important aspects, contexts, and influences that need to be considered in relation to it. In doing so, it begins by dealing more passingly with the work, though a brief account of Hardy’s poetry and its post-Romantic context gives way to a longer one about the role of music within the fiction. 2 For a recent overview of Hardy biography, see Michael Millgate’s ‘Hardy as Biographical Subject’, in A Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Wilson, 7–18.

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Notes to Chapter 3 | 199 3 C. J. Weber, Joan Grundy and F. B. Pinion first demonstrated – in relation to music – how Hardy’s ‘ecstatic temperament’ reveals itself as fundamental [F. E. Hardy, Life, 15.] C. J. Weber [‘Thomas Hardy Music: With a Bibliography’, Music and Letters, Vol. 21, 2 (1940): 172–78] and F. B. Pinion, A Hardy Companion (see note 3, Chapter 2) document the many musical threads in Hardy’s life and writing, while Joan Grundy’s Hardy and the Sister Arts (see note 3, Chapter 2) examines the fundamental ways music, alongside the other arts, gripped Hardy’s imaginative sense of human life and aesthetic experience. 4 Thomas Hardy, ‘In Tenebris II’, Complete Poems, 168. 5 For secular and religious constructions of birdsong, Drew Edward Davis explores the pertinence of the following texts, in a review of Hughes’s ‘Ecstatic Sound’, in The Hardy Review, Vol. 11, 1(Spring 2009), 70: Matthew Head. “Birdsong and the Origins of Music”, Journal of the Royal Musicological Association, Vol. 122, 1 (1997), 1–23; and Charles Hartshorne, “The Aesthetics of Birdsong,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 26, 3 (1968), 311–15. 6 The many settings of the poetry, and the circumstances of their composition, are the focus of an unpublished 2008 Loughborough University PhD thesis by Susan Bell, ‘Verse Into Song’: Composers and their Settings of Poems by Thomas Hardy, which also argues that Hardy often wrote with settings in mind. Claire Seymour and Gillian Beer have written close accounts of some of the settings (Gillian Beer, “The Senses of Musical Settings in Hardy’s Poetry,” and Seymour, ‘A Song Outlasts a Dynasty’ [see note 3, Chapter 2]). Beer remarks that Gooch and Thatcher’s study of musical settings ‘list some 300 songs and choral settings of his poetry by more than 100 composers; and many more have been added since their catalogue was published’ (Beer, ‘The Senses of Musical Settings’, 8). Two important books cited by Beer are Trevor Hold, Parry to Finzi: Twenty English Song-Composers (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002), 401–2; and B. S. Gooch and D. Thatcher, Musical Settings of Late Victorian and Modern British Literature: A Catalogue (New York and London, 1976). 7 The poetical association of Hardy’s lyricism with Romanticism, and the figure of the singer is Daniel Karlin’s topic in ’The Figure of the Singer in the Poetry of Thomas Hardy’ (see note 3, Chapter 2). A different kind of historical and theoretical perspective informs Tim Armstrong’s claim that Hardy’s poetry can be said to anticipate Adorno’s concern with the commodifying technologies, the musical memory-machines, of capitalist modernity. See Tim Armstrong, ‘Hardy, History and Recorded Music’, (note 3, Chapter 2). In a piece informed by Freudian notions of the uncanny, Claire Seymour has offered a useful survey of Hardy’s musical affiliations, ‘”Hardy and Music”, in A Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Wilson, 223–38. 8 Caroline Jackson-Houlston’s “Ballads, Songs and Snatches” documents how Hardy’s representation of ballad and folk song was bound up with his awareness of its vulnerability to social change, and sentimentalizing

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commodification (see note 3, Chapter 2). The literary representation of music, and the literary use of musical models and allusions are key themes in Delia Da Sousa Correa’s George Eliot, Music and Victorian Culture (see note 3, Chapter 2) and edited collection, ‘Phrase and Subject’: Studies in Literature and Music (Oxford: Legenda, 2006). Phyllis Welliver explores the cultural, as well as literary, significance of music in two books, and a collection of essays: Women Musicians in Victorian Fiction, 1860–1900, (see note 3, Chapter 2), The Musical Crowd in English Fiction, 1840–1910: Class, Culture and Nation (see note 3, Chapter 2), and (editor) The Figure of Music in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry (see note 3, Chapter 2). Ashgate’s “Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain” series and the interdisciplinary journal Nineteenth-Century Music Review similarly reveal the growth of the field. Two books dealing with musical experience as exemplifications of the anti-rational metaphysical thinking that informed Hardy’s writing and directed his reading are Hughes’s, “Ecstatic Sound (note 35, Introduction) and Mark Asquith’s, Thomas Hardy, Metaphysics and Music (note 3, Chapter 2). See Gillian Beer, Darwin’s Plots (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Lennart Björk, ed., The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy, 2 Vols (New York: New York University Press, 1985), Angelique Richardson, ‘Hardy and Biology’, in Phillip Mallett, ed., Thomas Hardy: Texts and Contexts (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002),156–79; George Levine, ‘Hardy and Darwin: An Enchanting Hardy?’, in A Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed., Wilson, 36–53; Phillip Mallett, ‘Hardy and Philosophy’, in A Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Wilson, 21–35; and Pamela Gossin, Thomas Hardy’s Novel Universe: Astronomy, Cosmology, and Gender in the Post-Darwinian World (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). Relevant here is Philip Mallett’s point (citing the notebooks), that Hardy felt an intuitive affiliation with the ‘Fetichist belief that “all objects are alive, and concern themselves with Man”’ (Mallett, ‘Hardy and Philosophy’, 26). D. H. Lawrence, ‘Study of Thomas Hardy’, Selected Literary Criticism (London: Heinemann, 1973), 167. Questions of influence or response allow one to invoke the earlier context of novelists, like George Eliot, for whom the relation of passion to social and ethical frameworks, dramatized importantly by musical experience, was more a matter of complex mediation or moderation. The varied critical essays in Nicky Losseff and Sophie Fuller’s volume, The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction explore a host of topics, and writing by a wide range of canonical and non-canonical fictional writers (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004). James Knowles, ‘A Personal Reminiscence’, in Norman Page, ed., Tennyson: Interviews and Recollections (London: Macmillan, 1989), 24. Alfred Tennyson, The Poems of Tennyson, ed. Christopher Ricks

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(London: Longman, 1969), 85. For a fuller discussion of this, see John Hughes, ‘”The Exile’s Harp”: Tennyson’s Lost World of Music’, Nineteenth Century Music Review, Vol. 3, 2 (2006), 113–35. Robert Browning, The Poems, Vol. 1, ed. John Pettigrew, with Thomas J. Collins (London: Penguin, 1981), 779. Intriguingly, the poem appears to have roots in Wordsworth’s reading rather than his experience, and to be derived from the MS of Thomas Wilkinson’s Tours to the British Mountains [See William Wordsworth, The Major Works, ed. Stephen Gill (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), note 319, 717.] As Penny Boumelha puts it, Hardy’s ‘eroticization’ of ‘cross-class romance’ is ‘almost obsessive’ (‘The Patriarchy of Class: Under the Greenwood Tree, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Woodlanders’ in The Cambridge Companion to Thomas hardy, ed., Dale Kramer, 132. For related discussions see also two books cited above – Boumelha, Thomas Hardy and Women, and Rosemarie Morgan, Women and Sexuality – and two others: Patricia Ingham, Thomas Hardy, (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1989), and Jane Thomas, Thomas Hardy: Femininity and Dissent (London: Macmillan, 1999). Thomas Hardy, The Hand of Ethelberta (London: Macmillan, 1975), 172. Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge (London: Macmillan, 1973), 159. Thomas Hardy, Desperate Remedies (London: Penguin, 1995), 155. Thomas Hardy, The Collected Stories of Thomas Hardy, Vol. 3, ed. F. B. Pinion (London: Macmillan, 1977), 90–91. Thomas Hardy, A Laodicean (London: Macmillan, 1972), 13.

4 ‘A Strange Respect for the Individual’: Gilles Deleuze and Hardy the Novelist 1 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy? trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 168. 2 Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1974), 80. 3 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi (London: Athlone, 1988), 276. 4 D. H. Lawrence, ‘Study of Thomas Hardy’, Selected Literary Criticism (London: Heinemann, 1973), 167. 5 Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (London: Athlone, 1994), 254. 6 Feminist critics have explored how the women in Hardy – Cytherea, Fancy, Elfride, Bathsheba, Ethelberta, Eustacia, Lucetta, Sue, or Tess – embody such powers of emergence and dissolution, refusing ever to be resolved by the narrator’s words or his world. More recently, critics also have begun to emphasize how unremitting is Hardy’s interrogation of the

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intractabilities of Victorian masculinity, and how it is ‘always articulated within sociocultural contexts, and . . . perilous to negotiate’. For a discussion, and survey of the literature in this area, see Elizabeth Langland, ‘Hardy and Masculinity’, in Thomas Hardy in Context, ed. Mallett, 374–83. Cited by Bruce Steele, introduction to Study of Thomas Hardy and Other Essays, ed. Bruce Steele (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), xxv. Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Signs, trans. Richard Howard (London: Continuum, 2008), 31. Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Vol. 3, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin; and Andreas Mayor (London: Penguin, 1989), 382–83. John Bayley described Hardy’s mind as ‘stubbornly unsynthesizing’, in its refusal to subsume what it describes according to the logic of subjective interiority. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1974), 41–42. Richard Bowker, ‘Thomas Hardy: The Dorset Novelist’, in Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections, ed. James Gibson (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999), 14. Thomas Hardy, The Hardy, Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy, Vol. 1 (1840–1892), ed. Richard L. Purdy and Michael Millgate (Oxford: Clarendon, 1980), 93. Michael Millgate, Thomas Hardy: A Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), 111. Thomas Hardy, Two on a Tower (London: Penguin, 1999), 262. See Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. H. Tomlinson (London: Athlone, 1983), 70. John Stuart Mill, Three Essays on Religion (New York: Henry Holt, 1874), 149, 152. Eduard von Hartmann, Philosophy of the Unconscious, Vol. 3, trans. W. C. Coupland (London: Kegan Paul, 1893), 293. Thomas Hardy, The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy, Vol. 2, ed. Lennart A. Björk (New York: New York University Press, 1985), 29.

5 ‘What I see in their Faces’: Facial Inspiration in Hardy’s Fiction 1 Virginia Woolf, extract from A Writer’s Diary, rpt. in Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections (ed. James Gibson, London: Macmillan, 1999), 223. 2 Ford Maddox Ford, extract from Mightier than the Sword, rpt. in Gibson, ed., Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections, 30. 3 Rosamund Tomson, extract from an article in the Independent (New York) published under the pseudonym ‘Graham R. Tomson’ on 22 November, 1894, rpt. in Gibson, ed., Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections, 45. 4 Tony Tanner, ‘Colour and Movement in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, rpt. in

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Thomas Hardy: Critical Assessments, Vol. 4, ed. Graham Clarke (Mountfield: Helm, 1993), 126. J. P. Bullen, The Expressive Eye: Fiction and Perception in the Work of Thomas Hardy (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986), 2. Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes (London: Macmillan, 1975), 55. I have argued this at length, in relation to Hardy’s later reading and aesthetic reflections in Chapter 5 of, ‘Ecstatic Sound’, 201–29. Richard Bowker, ‘Thomas Hardy: ‘The Dorset Novelist’, rpt. in Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections, 14. Henry James, Review in The Nation, 24 December, 1874, rpt. in Far from the Madding Crowd (New York: Norton, 1986), 367. Anonymous Review, in Thomas Hardy; Critical Assessments, Vol.1, ed. Graham Clarke (Mountfield: Helm, 1993), 47. Thomas Hardy, The Trumpet-Major (London: Macmillan, 1974), 275. Michael Irwin and Ian Gregor, ‘Either Side of Wessex’, rpt. in Thomas Hardy: Critical Assessments, Vol. IV (Mountfield: Helm, 1993), 524. They refer to the ‘impersonal’ ‘sense of being brought into direct contact with a certain sight or sound.’ See note 10, Chapter 1 for details for books by Goode, Fisher, Widdowson, and others. I have argued this in more detail in ‘“For Old Association’s Sake”: History, Narrative and Hardy’s The Woodlanders’ in The Thomas Hardy Journal, Vol. XVIII, 2 (2002), 57–64. Phillip Mallett, ‘Jude the Obscure: A Farewell to Wessex’, The Thomas Hardy Journal, Vol. XI, 2 (October 1995), 50. Thomas Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree (London: Macmillan, 1974), 55. Virginia Woolf, ‘The Novels of Thomas Hardy’, 252: In all the books love is one of the great facts that mould human life. But it is a catastrophe; it happens suddenly and overwhelmingly […] The talk between the lovers when it is not passionate is practical or philosophic, as though the discharge of their daily duties left them with more desire to question life and its purpose than to investigate each other’s sensibilities. Even if it were in their power to analyse their emotions, life is too stirring to given them time. They need all their strength to deal with the downright blows, the freakish ingenuity, the gradually increasing malignity of fate. D. H. Lawrence, ‘Study of Thomas Hardy’ and Other Essays, ed. Bruce Steele (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 20. Barbara Hardy, from ‘Under the Greenwood Tree: A Novel about the Imagination’, in Thomas Hardy: Critical Assessments, Vol. 4, ed. Clarke, 6. This description of the image of mind that is offered and produced in Hardy’s work does not at all exclude his sense of ‘Our Old Friend Dualism’, the idea that body and spirit exist as two ontologically distinct manifestations of the soul. However, it would be said to oppose ratio-

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nalism totally: firstly by denying that spirit has a transcendence and priority over the body, and secondly in asserting that spirit and mind are nonetheless always parallel manifestations of the soul. There is no ghost and no machine (tenuously connected by some Cartesian fiction of quasicausality located in the pineal gland) in Hardy’s non-rationalist version of the self, but a body that always expresses spirit or individuality, though with varying degrees of joy and sadness, dependent on the relationships it composes, and with varying degrees of self-consciousness. Thomas Hardy, ‘The Temporary the All’ (Hardy, The Complete Poems, 7). For these reasons, I would prefer to emphasize the experimental nature of Hardy’s characters per se, in the sense that it is in the nature of his fiction that individuality as Barbara Hardy said, is variability. Like water becoming ice or steam, they take on different forms and qualities dependent on the events that overtake them. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1976), 135. It would be interesting to ponder this distinction between ‘seeing’ and ‘looking’ further in relation to the distinction between ‘stative’ and ‘dynamic’ verbs drawn by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik in their text, A Grammar of Contemporary English (London: Longman, 1972), 93–97.

6 ‘Metre and Context’: Hardy’s “Neutral Tones” 1 R. W. King, ‘The Lyrical Poems of Thomas Hardy’, The London Mercury (December 1925), rpt. in Thomas Hardy: Critical Assessments, Vol. 2, ed. Graham Clarke, The Writer and the Poet (Mountsfield: Helm, 1993), 207. 2 Claire Senior, ‘Shades of Gray: A Diachronic Reading of Thomas Hardy’s “Neutral Tones”, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 44, 2 (2006), 227. 3 Linda Shires, ‘Hardy and Nineteenth-Century Poetry’, Palgrave Advances in Hardy Studies, ed., Phillip Mallet (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 261–66. 4 J. M. P. Gleeson, ‘”Cunning Irregularity”: The Reticent Selves of Hardy’s Poetry’, The Cambridge Quarterly, Vol. 23, 1 (1994), 32–49. For Gleeson, the result is a peculiarly Hardeyan poetics of liminality, bearing out his cautions, made time and again in the Prefaces, that his ‘dramatic or impersonative’ writing deals in ‘series of feelings and fancies’ and consequently may ‘possess little cohesion of thought or harmony of colouring’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 84). 5 One remembers here the unsigned Academy review of 14 January 1899 that bemoaned ‘the lack of metrical finish’ in ‘Neutral Tones’, and the ‘technical inexpertness’ of the collection. ‘Unsigned Review’, Academy 14 January 1899, rpt. in Thomas Hardy: The Critical Heritage, ed. R. G. Cox (London: Routledge, 1979), 324, 323. 6 For Bayley, the speaker in ‘Neutral Tones’ is passively overtaken by the

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uncanny, oppressive, disintegrative, power of what he perceives: ‘Nerve and feeling, the power to resolve and act, are submerged in a clarity of enervation.’ (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 72–74) Margaret Fouret, Hardy’s Topographical Lexicon and the Canon of Intent: A Reading of the Poetry (New York: Peter Lang, 1990), 128. Harold Bloom, ed., Thomas Hardy: Bloom’s Major Poets (Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2004), 37. Samuel Hynes, The Pattern of Hardy’s Poetry (Chapel Hill: University of N Carolina Press, 1961), 137. W. W. Morgan, ‘Syntax in Hardy’s “Neutral Tones”, lines 7 and 8’, Victorian Poetry, Vol.11, 2 (1973), 167–68; Paul C. Docherty and E. Dennis Taylor, ‘Syntax in Hardy’s “Neutral Tones”’, Victorian Poetry, Vol.12, 3 (1974), 285–91. The full citation for Senior’s piece is ‘Shades of Gray: A Diachronic Reading of Thomas Hardy’s “Neutral Tones”, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 44, 2 (2006), 213–33. Her way of reading is premised on Hardy’s fascination with the history of words themselves, as Dennis Taylor described in Hardy’s Literary Language and Victorian Philology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). Beats are more or less emphatic (b, B) and off-beats, are – broadlyspeaking – single, emphasized, or double (o, O, -o-), or virtual (ô). For a fuller key and reference, see note 2, Introduction. In these terms, then, the poem anticipates a very modern kind of unillusioned sensibility and intonation, of a kind that Hardy himself will come to explore in a thousand poems, thirty, forty, fifty and even sixty years later. At this stage of his life and career, though, this appears to be a burden or direction that he was not inclined, or didn’t know, how to take up, not least because a modern sense of contingency, arbitrariness, and disintegration has such an estranging insistence in the poem. In the Life, Hardy places ‘Neutral Tones’ among the poems from that time that survived destruction, and that were ultimately and mostly destined for Wessex Poems. These were left, along with ‘most of his books and other belongings’ at Westbourne Park Villas before he left for Dorchester in July 1867. (F. E. Hardy, Life, 54) It is difficult to construe the tone of the Life itself, for all sorts of reasons to do with the author’s dissimulation of his own voice, and the layering of retrospection. All this aside from Hardy’s own, notorious and wily guardedness. However, there are moments like this where his prose seems momentarily drawn to evoke (in despite of its wooden tone) his youthful sensibility, steeped in literature, yet denied adequate expression and recognition. At such moments, one comes as close as one ever will to a juvenile Hardy, saturated by literature, as is evident in the Shakespearean ventriloquism that passingly inflects his 1866 sonnet, ‘She, to Him’, I: ‘When you shall see me in the toils of Time, / My lauded beauties carried off from me’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 14). See Robert Gittings, The Young Thomas Hardy (London: Penguin,

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1980); Martin Seymour-Smith, Thomas Hardy (London: Bloomsbury, 1994); as well as the biographies by Pite, Millgate, and Tomalin already cited. Pite identifies a believer’s sexual panic in the last of these poems, reading the lines in ‘She, to Him’, IV, in terms of her alarm at the enthralling and ravishing effects of sexual passion (Pite, Thomas Hardy,125): Believe me, Lost One, Love is lovelier The more it shapes its moan in selfish-wise. (Hardy, Complete Poems, 16) A less ingenious, and more plausible reading, though, would be that the lines are merely the culmination of the girl’s envy (selfish as she sees it) at being supplanted by another. This, after all, has been the poem’s main theme since its opening, This love puts all humanity from me; I can but maledict her, pray her dead, For giving love and getting love of thee – Feeding a heart that else mine one had fed! (Hardy, Complete Poems, 16) More importantly, though, at this point, with the introduction of another person, the biographical reading begins to suffer from being starved of information, and Hardy’s date and ascription beneath the poem (1866 / 16 Westbourne Park Villas) can appear tantalizingly private. J. O. Bailey, rather notoriously, for instance, read the poem as about Tryphena Sparks. Although Hardy’s close association, possible romance, with her was only to take shape in Dorset, Bailey argues that this could be a blind on Hardy’s part to distract the biographically minded. Perhaps such features of the poem can account for the way that, even on a first reading of this poem, readers can themselves uncannily feel that the poem is itself simultaneously being remembered, so powerful is its rendition of a powerless, passive, consciousness, the mind that takes, as it were, dictation from the scene, and continues to be oppressed by it, and to feel that there are omens, lessons, within it. For discussions of this line, see the debate in Victorian Poetry between W. W. Morgan, on the one hand, and Paul C. Docherty and E. Dennis Taylor, in the pieces mentioned in note 9 above. Again, John Bayley makes telling points on the lines ‘And some words played between us to and fro / On which lost the more by our love’: Both in syntax and rhythm these are the decisive lines. The sentence does indeed ‘crumble’, in the most effective manner possible, making the sense opaque at first, until we see that ‘on’ means ‘as to’, but more suitably, for the words exchanged are indeed on a subject, in detachment. (Bayley, An Essay on Hardy, 75)

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Notes to Chapter 7 | 207 7 ‘Metre and Mourning’: “The Going” and Poems of 1912–13 1 Cited by Pite, Thomas Hardy, 415. 2 By a further poignant irony, it also brings to mind how in ‘I Found Her Out There’ it was another – silent, rapt and expressive – kind of obliviousness that led to his falling in love with Emma, as he would gaze at her while she would ‘sigh at the tale / Of sunk Lyonnesse’ (Hardy, Complete Poems, 342). In both cases too, Emma’s unawareness of him feeds a kind of astonishment, though in ‘The Going’ this obliviousness has another aspect, as if it were part still of an ongoing marital drama. 3 Rosemarie Morgan, “Thomas Hardy”, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 48, 3 (2010), 386. 4 Kerry McSweeney, ‘Hardy’s Poems of 1912–13: A Presence More Than Actual’, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 33, 2 (1995), 191. 5 Patricia Ingham, Thomas Hardy: Authors in Context (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 21. 6 Cited by Tomalin, Thomas Hardy, 308–9. Tomalin offers fairly extensive extracts from Benson’s diary that reiterate these things. Max Gate was ‘a structure at once mean and pretentious, with no grace of design or detail, and with two hideous low flanking turrets with pointed roofs of blue slate. In the vestibule a frightful ornament of alabaster, three foliated basins tiara-wise with doves drinking.’ Emma was ‘a small, pretty, rather mincing elderly lady with hair curiously puffed and padded rather fantastically dressed’, and taken ‘by both hands’ by Gosse who ‘talked to her in a strain of exaggerated gallantry which was deeply appreciated’. 7 Linda M. Shires, ‘“Saying that now you are not as you were”: Hardy’s Poems of 1912–13’, in Thomas Hardy and Contemporary Literary Studies, ed. Tim Dolin and Peter Widdowson (London: Palgrave, 2004), 150. 8 Peter Sacks is another critic who reads the poems broadly in these terms. See Peter Sacks, The English Elegy: Studies in the Genre from Spencer to Yeats (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1985). 9 Alfred Tennyson, Tennyson: A Selected Edition, ed. Christopher Ricks (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 366. 10 Tim Dolin, ‘The Early Life and Later Years of Thomas Hardy: An Argument for a New Edition’, The Review of English Studies, Vol. 58 (2007), 705. 11 Marion Thain, ‘Thomas Hardy’s Poetics of Touch’, Victorian Poetry Vol. 51, 2 (2013), 129. 12 Both Thain and Miller can be seen responding to the classical quandaries of scepticism, whether as bearing on the existence of the self, or on the external world. Similarly, Susan M. Miller writes that ‘[i]n his own day’, ‘Hardy was often disparaged as a poet too infected with philosophy, one who sacrificed the lyric obligation to the world of feeling to the staging of a bleak determinism’, his poems working as ‘vehicles for his skeptical ideas rather than expressing authentic movements of the heart’, Susan M.

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208 | Notes to Chapter 8 Miller, ‘Thomas Hardy and the Impersonal Lyric’, Journal of Modern Literature, Vol. 30, 3 (Spring, 2007), 95. 13 Linda M. Austin, ‘Reading Depression in Hardy’s “Poems of 1912–13”’, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 36, 1 (1998), 11. 14 Lytton Strachey, New Statesman, 14 December 1914, in Hardy: Critical Heritage, ed. Cox, 436.

8 ‘Hardy’s Two Voices’: “The Oxen”, Metre, and Belief 1 Cited by J. O. Bailey, The Poetry of Thomas Hardy (Chapel Hill: North Carolina Press, 1970), 370. 2 Thomas Hardy: A Casebook, ed. James Gibson and Trevor Johnson (London: Macmillan, 1979), 104. 3 C. Day Lewis, “The Lyrical Poetry of Thomas Hardy’: The Warton Lecture on English Poetry, 6 June 1951”, Proceedings of the British Academy (1951), rpt. in Thomas Hardy: A Casebook, ed. James Gibson and Trevor Johnson (London: Macmillan, 1979), 155. 4 To put it another way, a sceptical reader could not appreciate the poem unless he discovered that such an attitude of hope and imaginative response were reawakened in him, in the expressive interstices of his reading. 5 Wordsworth’s celebrated sense of birth as ‘but a sleep and forgetting’ is intensified in ‘The Oxen’ into what seems the adult’s utterly bereft sense of the fall into unredeemed, isolated and dispirited adulthood. Nonetheless, sleep and forgetting are suggestive ideas here for considering Hardy’s troubled post-romanticism if we describe how voice works in the poem at key moments to reawaken childhood within the reader, while reciprocally reducing the state of adulthood for this interval to a kind of slumber. 6 Comments by Florence Hardy, Gosse, and Cokerill, cited by Pite on same page as Pite’s comment (Pite, Thomas Hardy, 429). 7 Irving Howe, Thomas Hardy (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966), 177. 8 Timothy Hands, ‘One Church, Several Faiths, No Lord: Thomas Hardy, Art and Belief’, Ashgate Research Companion, ed. Morgan, 210. 9 Pamel Dalziel, ‘“The Hard Case of the Would-be-Religious”: Hardy and the Church from Early Life to Later Years’, in A Companion to Thomas Hardy, ed. Wilson, 83. 10 Jan Jƒdrzejeweski, Thomas Hardy and the Church (London: Macmillan, 1996), 5. Dalziel traces more an ongoing oscillation in Hardy’s attitudes between the two poles of scepticism and belief. 11 J. H. Morgan, ‘Mr Hardy and the Church. A Reminiscence’, The Times, January 19, 1928, 8, rpt in Martin Ray, ed., Thomas Hardy Remembered (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 259–60. 12 It is a subtly different attitude to that of Philip Larkin whose celebrated and more dispassionate ‘Church Going’ this extract so clearly brings to

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mind. For both poets the church is an empty place, voided of revelation. Yet Hardy cannot but remain at the threshold, as if abandoned by the faith that he cannot bring himself to abandon. ‘The Oxen’ is one of the clearest examples of this, and of the way in which memory often works on an emotional level to deny the denial of faith itself. (By an uncanny Hardeyan irony, Hardy of course did actually return in a literal way to the locus of childhood belief, since as J. O. Bailey pointed out the ‘lonely barton’ of the poem is near to where Hardy’s heart is buried in Stinsford churchyard [J. O. Bailey, Poetry of Thomas Hardy, 370].) Thomas Hardy, Selected Poems, ed. Timothy Armstrong (London: Longman, 1993), 62. Deborah Collins emphasizes that Hardy’s ambivalence in the poem is ‘emotional rather than intellectual’, and that the oxen tale is merely an ‘enchanting’ ‘Christmas Eve story . . . similar to so many other traditions which remains lovely, useless relics, powerless against modern scepticism’. Hardy in reality, she says, would not have been genuinely tempted to carry out the ‘oxen test’. Deborah Collins, Thomas Hardy and His God: A Liturgy of Unbelief (London: Macmillan, 1990), 20. A similar indetermination is also evident in the metrical promotion of the word ‘where’ at the end of the line to make an unemphasized beat. http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/g/e/n/gentleje.htm This might be said to be evident in the poem in the way it draws us into how the children’s thoughts shape themselves through empathic and communal projections in which neither self nor other are seen as dominant, and through which social relationships are naturally discovered and instantiated. In this respect, the poem could sustain a strong reading in terms of Stanley Cavell’s notion (evident in his reading of the early paragraphs of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations and elsewhere, and bearing on the initiation into words and ethical subjectivity) of a ‘scene of instruction’. The poem would correspond to this, in so far as it plays out a situation whereby an elder addresses a child and creates the conditions under which he or she can rehearse sociality and learning through an independent exercise of mind that takes possession of words by projecting them in ways that might attract consent or challenge conformity. For Cavell the child appears a kind of exemplar of the philosopher, and perhaps the poet, who must find himself/herself, his/her voice, and his or her community in words. Instruction here means also that at points the child is necessarily unsupported (and not infallible, if usually successful) in this, since learning to speak for oneself (like swimming) begins where teaching ends. (See for instance, Stanley Cavell: ‘Declining Decline’, in The Cavell Reader, ed. Stephen Mulhall [Oxford: Blackwell, 1996], 321–52.) As suggested earlier too, the form of transcendence internal to poetry itself is undoubtedly renewed through the poem. Poetry affirms itself through its own enactments as the activity and locus of the mind’s

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210 | Notes to Chapter 8 capacity for spiritual recreation and vision, the vehicle for human dedication towards a transformed world, and the testament to our need to overcome the privative work of loss and conflict. As an aspect of this, the intonational features of the verse in this poem indubitably become the means through which the reader hear the voices of speaker, elder and the anonymous figure sounding within himself/herself, and finds thereby the essentially projective capacities of poetry reawakened. 20 Moreover, it might even suggest contrarily the return in this line of the earlier iambic-anapaestic motif, were we to promote the word ‘him’ to hear it with slightly more emphasis as a beat.

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Index Italic font is used for titles of novels. Names of characters from novels, stories and poems are given in the format ‘first_name last_name’, i.e. ‘Bathsheba Everdene’, as many are best known by their first names. Characters who are referred to mainly by their last name also have entries for the last name, i.e. ‘Jocelyn Pierston’ and ‘Pierston, Jocelyn’.

Adelaide Hinton, 111 adulthood, 53–7, 180 Aeneas Manston, 76, 83 affective reading, viii–ix agnosticism of TH, 172 Amigoni, David, 6 anapaestic metre Afternoon Service at Mellstock, 54–5 Boy’s Dream, The, 43 Concerning Agnes, 63 Going, The, 154–5, 157, 159, 161, 164, 166 Music in a Snowy Street, 58–60 Neutral Tones, 136–7, 139 Oxen, The, 178, 179–80, 183 Self-Unseeing, The, 51 Angel Clare, 28–9, 77, 122 Ann ‘Avice’ Caro, 112 Arabella Donn, 120 Armstrong, Tim, 60 Attridge, Derek, 2, 50 Austin, Linda M., 153 ballad metre, 50, 54, 73 Barber Percombe, 106 Bathsheba Everdene, 4, 77, 117–20 Bayley, John, 23, 32, 33, 92, 104–5, 128, 171–2 becoming-woman, 82, 83, 93 Beer, Gillian, 47 Bennett, Andrew, 37, 128 Benson, Arthur, 149

bereavement, 143, 146, 151–3 see also grief Blomfield, Arthur, 132 Bloom, Harold, 129 Bob Loveday, 104 Boldwood, William, 3–4, 119 Bowker, Richard, 91, 102–3 Browning, Robert, 72, 73 Bullen, J. B., 100, 108 Car’line Aspent, 34 Carper, Thomas, 2, 50 Cavell, Stanley, 16–17, 19 chance encounters, 31, 48, 75, 88–9, 112 characters Deleuze on, 81–2 descriptions of, 102–11 eye contact between, 112–23 individuation of, 3 Lawrence on, 84, 111 music and, 30, 32, 75–7 naming of, 75 overlooking of each other, 8, 106–7 TH on, 91, 100, 102–3 Woolf on, 84, 111 Charles Bradford Raye, 34 childhood, 53–7, 167–70, 177–81, 183 Christmas season in poems, 48, 52, 167–8, 175–7 Christopher Julian, 76, 77, 116–17 clarity of TH, 127 class, social, 7, 75, 77, 117

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212 | Index classical references, 62, 65–6 Cockerill, Sydney, 171 Coleman, Terry, 5 composers and TH, 69 Cytherea Graye, 76, 83, 93, 111, 113, 115 Damon Wildeve, 89, 109, 110 dance scenes novels, 77, 89–90, 116 poems, 61–4 short stories, 75 Day Lewis, Cecil, 168 Deacon, Lois, 5 death, sense of Concerning Agnes, 61–6 Music in a Snowy Street, 59–60 deaths of characters, 89, 93, 94 Emma Hardy, 143, 147–8, 150–1, 155–7, 160–3, 165 Deleuze, Gilles, 13, 31–2, 70, 81–3, 84–5, 87–9, 91, 96 departures, 28, 147–8, 155 desires and music, 45, 47–8, 51–2 Desperate Remedies, 76, 83, 88, 92–3, 104, 111, 113, 115 Dick Dewey, 76, 112–13 disappointment, 24, 35, 38, 74, 94, 106, 120, 139–40 dissociation, 17, 25, 137, 153, 157 Docherty, Paul C., 130 Dolin, Tim, 152 Donald Farfrae, 76, 77, 115–16 Dorchester, TH return to, 131–2, 134 Egbert Mayne, 76 Elfride Swancourt, 87, 101, 113–14 Elizabeth-Jane Newson, 77 empathy with characters, 46 empiricism, 70, 82, 86, 88, 96–7, 174 endings of novels, 94 epiphanies associated with music, 43, 52, 72 Ethelberta Petherwin, 77, 116–17 Eustacia Vye, 81–2, 88–90, 109–11 experimental work, 81, 82, 88–9, 91, 92, 96, 115 expression, 1–10 see also inexpression expression and correspondence, 30 expressivity in TH, 4, 8, 36, 64, 170 Going, The, 144, 146, 155

eye contact between characters, 111–23 faith of TH, 168–9, 171–5 family love, 48 Fancy Day, 107–8, 112–13 Far From The Madding Crowd, 3–4, 77, 102, 104, 117–20 Farfrae, Donald, 76, 77, 115–16 fates of characters, 90, 95, 101 feminine endings, 3, 158, 162, 165 Ford, Ford Madox, 99 Ford, Mark, 6–7, 68 Fouret, Margaret, 128–9 Francis Troy, Sgt., 119–20 Frizzle, Robert Alan, 5 Gabriel Oak, 77, 102, 117–19 Gatrell, Simon, 7 George Somerset, 76–7, 86–7, 116 Gibson, James, 102 Gifford, Emma, 133 see also Hardy, Emma girls see women glances between characters, 112–13 see also eye contact between characters Gleeson, J. M. P., 128 Gosse, Edmund, 149, 171 Great War, The, 171, 180 grief, 145, 147, 150, 151–3, 159, 165– 6 see also bereavement Grove, Agnes, 61–2 Grundy, Joan, 30, 41, 76 Guattari, Felix, 81–2, 84, 87, 89 Hand of Ethelberta, The, 76, 77, 90, 92, 94, 104, 116–17 Hands, Timothy, 172 Hardy, Barbara, 111 Hardy, Emma (née Gifford, 1st wife of TH) death of, 143–8, 150–1, 155–7, 160–3, 165 poems about, 47 relationship with TH, 5, 133, 148– 50 Hardy, Florence Emily (née Dugdale, 2nd wife of TH) Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1928, The on art, vi, 38, 98

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Index | 213 death of Emma, 148 Dorchester, return to, 131–2, 134 experiments in vision, 115 fiction, turn to, 134 on Impressionists, 102 mind of TH, 4–7, 131–2 music, 41 philosophy, vi, 15–16, 96, 175 provincialism, 14 religion, 53, 168, 173 soul, 25–7 superficiality of London life, 25 women on trains, 99–100 writer’s style, 1, 6, 55, 128, 154 WORKS OF TH

Breaking of Nations, The, 167 Music in a Snowy Street, 57, 70 On Stinsford Hill at Midnight, 73 Oxen, The, 167 religion and TH, 168 war, 171 Hardy, Jemima (mother of TH), 44–5 Hardy, Thomas character, 4–8, 17, 99 on death of Emma, 143–8 and his characters, 102–3 language of, 13–15 philosophical nature of writings, 10–19 religion and, 168, 171–5 Novels Desperate Remedies, 76, 83, 88, 92–3, 104, 111, 113, 115 Far From The Madding Crowd, 3–4, 77, 102, 104, 117–20 Hand of Ethelberta, The, 76, 77, 90, 92, 94, 104, 116–17 Jude the Obscure, 10, 24, 27–8, 35, 77–8, 91, 94–6, 106, 120–2 Laodicean, A, 76, 86–8, 92, 94, 102, 104, 116 Mayor of Casterbridge, The, 76, 77, 90, 115–16 Pair of Blue Eyes, A, 76, 86–8, 92, 94, 101, 104, 113–14 Poor Man and The Lady, The, 91–2, 134 Return of the Native, The, 81, 88–9, 108–11 Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 10, 26, 28–9, 31–3, 35, 77, 86, 89–90, 105, 122 Trumpet-Major, The, 92, 104

Two on a Tower, 92, 94, 103–5 Under the Greenwood Tree, 36, 76, 86, 90, 107–8, 112–13 Well-Beloved, The, 24, 28, 35, 77, 85–6, 92, 94, 96, 112 Woodlanders, The, 8–10, 88, 90, 106–7 Poems Absolute Explains, The, 175 According to the Mighty Working, 11–14 After the Burial, 52 After a Journey, 138, 143–4, 145, 146, 155, 159 Afternoon Service at Mellstock, 53–7, 173 Amabel, 132 Apostrophe to an old PsalmTune, 37, 74 At a Bridal, 132, 133 At the Piano, 47 At the Railway Station – Upway, 47 Bird-Catcher’s Boy, The, 46–7 Blinded Bird, The, 52 Boy’s Dream, The, 42–3 Breaking of Nations, The, 167 Bride-Night Fire, The, 133 Change, The, 47 Christmastide, 52, 175–6 Church Romance, A, 43–6 Colonel’s Soliloquy, The, 38–9 Concerning Agnes, 48, 61–6 Confession, A, 132 Confession to a Friend in Trouble, A, 132, 133 Dance at the Phoenix, The, 36 Darkling Thrush, The, 23–4, 25, 52, 72, 175 Dawn after the Dance, The, 47–8 Dead Quire, The, 48 Ditty, 133 Doom and She, 175 Dream or No, A, 154–5 During Wind and Rain, 48–9 England to Germany in 1914, 171 For Life I Had Never Cared Greatly, 41 Going, The, 18, 143, 145, 147, 154–5, 156–66 Hap, 132, 133 Heiress and Architect, 133

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214 | Index Hardy, Thomas – Poems (continued) Her Dilemma, 132 Her Initials, 132, 133–4 I Found Her Out There, 159 Impercipient, The, 173 In Death Divided, 47 In a Eweleaze near Weatherbury, 47–8 In the Marquee, 46 In Vision I Roamed, 132 In the Waiting Room, 47 Lament, 147, 155–6 Last Performance, The, 47 Leipzig, 36 Lost Love, 47 Men Who March Away, 171 Middle-Aged Enthusiasms, 48 Music in a Snowy Street, 57–61 Musical Box, The, 47 Nature’s Questioning, 175 Neutral Tones, 17, 127–31, 134–42 Often When Warring, 171 On the Belgian Expatriation, 171 On a Midsummer Eve, 43 On Stinsford Hill at Midnight, 48, 73 One We Knew, 48 Oxen, The, 18, 167–71, 173 Penance, 47 Philosophical Fantasy, A, 175 Postponement, 132, 133 Reminiscences Of a Dancing Man, 48 Revulsion, 132–3 Rome: On the Palatine, 36 Self-Unseeing, The, 18, 41, 49–51 She, To Him, 132 Shelley’s Skylark, 72 Sign Seeker, A, 173–4 Singer Asleep, A, 72 Song to an Old Burden, 48 Then and Now, 171 To a Lady Singing and Dancing in the Morning, 48 To Lizbie Browne, 47 To My Father’s Violin, 37, 74 Two Men, The, 133 Voice, The, 36, 138, 145–6, 159 We Are Getting to the End, 171 Wives in the Sere, 1–3 Poetry collections Late Lyrics and Earlier, 1, 11

Poems of 1912–13, 143, 145, 151–3 Satires of Circumstance, 154 Time’s Laughingstocks and Other Verses, 15 Wessex Poems, 15, 132–3, 174 Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres, 10–11 Short stories Distracted Preacher, The, 34 Fellow-Townsmen, 35 Fiddler of the Reels, The, 26, 34, 35 History of the Hardcomes, The, 75 Indiscretion in the Life of the Heiress, An, 76 Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion, The, 75 On the Western Circuit, 34 Waiting Supper, The, 75–6 Other works Dorsetshire Labourer, A, 7–8 Profitable Reading of Fiction, The, 16, 110 Hartmann, Eduard von, 97–8 Hawkins, Desmond, 62 heath world, 81, 82, 88–9, 110–11 Henchard, Michael, 115–16 hope, life without, 35, 52, 169 Howe, Irving, 171, 173 hymns, influence on TH, 53 Hynes, Samuel, 130 iambic metre, 43, 58–9, 63, 74, 139, 179–80, 182–5 immanence, sense of, 13, 88, 90, 98, 115 improbability of plots, 94 indirection, 62–3 individuality and music, 24, 30, 32–3, 76 of rural inhabitants, 7 and the self, 83 and soul, 25 in straightened circumstances, 52 of TH, 14–15 individuation absence of, 94 and Deleuze, 13, 31, 87–9, 91 and Emma Hardy, 155 and the mind, 111 in minor texts, 92

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Index | 215 sense of self, 3 style and, 97–8 women and, 82–4 inexpression, 4, 16–18 see also expression Ingham, Patricia, 175 instability in TH texts, 92–3 intellectual interests of TH, 67, 69–70 intuitiveness and reading, 1, 26 Jackson-Houlston, Caroline, 28, 77–8 Jacobson, Dan, ix James, Henry, 104 J¢drzejeweski, Jan, 172 Jenny (The Dance at the Phoenix), 36 Jocelyn Pierston, 28, 77, 85, 94, 112 Jude Fawley, 27, 77–8, 94–5, 106, 120–1 Jude the Obscure, 10, 24, 27–8, 35, 77–8, 91, 94–6, 106, 120–2 King, R. W., 127, 168 Knowles, James, 72 Lady Vivette Constantine, 103 language, privacy of, 16 language used by TH, 13–15, 42–3, 64, 95, 130, 139–41, 144, 174–5 Laodicean, A, 76, 86–8, 92, 94, 102, 104, 116 Larkin, Philip, 42 Lawrence, D. H., 71–2, 82, 83–4, 89, 111 love affairs of TH, 132–3 Lucas, John, 7, 37, 50, 51, 54 Maidment, Brian, 35 male characters, 5, 82, 102 Mallett, Phillip, 16, 107 Manston, Aeneas, 76, 83 marriages of characters, 75, 94–5, 118 of TH, 145–6, 148–9, 159–60, 163 Martin, Julia, Lady, 75 Marty South, 106–7 Max Gate, Dorchester, 149–50 Mayor of Casterbridge, The, 76, 77, 90, 115–16 McSweeney, Kerry, 148 metaphysics anti-rationalist, of TH, 97–8 and desires of the sceptic, 16 of Emma’s death, 146, 150, 156–7,

161 of experience and music, 41, 70–1 views of the universe, 11–12 metre and TH, 128, 144, 154–5 metrical analyses, 2–3, 130 Afternoon Service at Mellstock, 53– 7 Boy’s Dream, The, 42–3 Concerning Agnes, 63–6 Going, The, 156–66 Lament, 156 Music in a Snowy Street, 58–60 Neutral Tones, 129, 134–42 On Stinsford Hill at Midnight, 73–4 Oxen, The, 176–85 Self-Unseeing, The, 50–1 Michael Henchard, 115–16 Mill, John Stuart, 97 Miller, Susan M., 153 Millgate, Michael, 132, 149 mind, theory of, 41, 67, 86, 88, 91, 97–8, 111–12, 163, 175 minor novels of TH, 92–4 modernity of TH anticipation of, 131 of characters, 87–8, 95–6, 107 focus of texts, 94–6 and metre, 144–5 in minor texts, 92 and philosophical reading, 92 of poems, 74, 127 and style, 85, 91 and women, 82 moments of vision, 1, 52, 84–5, 94, 169 Mop (The Fiddler of the Reels), 26 Morgan, J. H., 172 Morgan, Rosemarie, 147 Morgan, W. W., 130 mourning, 151–2 Murry, John Middleton, 172 muses, 66, 128, 155, 163 music and TH, 23–5, 40–1, 67–78 fiction, 75–8 metrical analysis and ‘tune’ and ‘thought,’ 52–66 Afternoon Service at Mellstock, 53–7 Concerning Agnes, 61–6 Music in a Snowy Street, 57–61 modes of writing, 29–35 poems, 35–9, 41–52, 72–4 and the soul, 25–9

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216 | Index musical metres, 50 Myers, F. W. H., 98 Newbolt, Sir Henry, 150 Nicholls, Eliza, 132 Nicola Pine-Avon, 28 Norman, Andrew, 5 Oak, Gabriel, 77, 102, 117–19 observation in fiction, 99–102 descriptions of central figures, 102–11 eye contact between characters, 112–23 Old Norbert (Leipzig), 36 opening scenes, 27, 90–1, 103, 105, 108, 115–16, 118 Page, Norman, 14, 152 Pair of Blue Eyes, A, 76, 86–8, 92, 94, 101, 104, 113–14 past, revisiting of the, 48–51 patriotism of TH, 171 Paula Power, 86–7, 116 Paulin, Tom, 1, 168 pentameter, 55, 56 Pepper, Stephen C., 12 Percombe, Mr., 106 philosophical nature of TH writing, ix–x, 10–19 philosophical reading by TH, 96–7 pictorializing techniques, 108 Pierston, Jocelyn, 28, 77, 85, 94, 112 Pinion, F. B., 41 Pite, Ralph, 40, 46, 53, 132, 136, 151–2, 168, 171 Poor Man and The Lady, The, 91–2, 134 prepositions in poems, 43, 139, 140 privacy, 16–18, 118 Proust, Marcel, 85–6, 145 provincialism of TH, 14 Raye, Charles Bradford, 34 religion and TH, 168–9, 171–5 Return of the Native, The, 81, 88–9, 108–11 revisiting the past, 48–51 romances and class barriers, 75 and music, 28, 44, 76–7 of TH, 5, 132–3 Royle, Nicholas, 37, 128

scepticism, 153, 169, 170 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 97–8 Schweik, Robert, 14–15 self-consciousness, 30, 111, 114 self-revelation, 42–3, 101 self, sense of, 82–3, 86, 93, 98, 112 selfhood in TH writings, 3 Senior, Claire, 127, 130 Seymour, Claire, 70 Shires, Linda, 10, 127, 140–1, 150 social class, 7, 75, 77, 117 Somerset, George, 76–7, 86–7, 116 soul and consciousness, 30–2 and music, 25–9, 43 sound, 2, 30, 32–3, 36–7, 41–3, 45 Sparks, Tryphena, 5, 47–8 Stephen Smith, 76, 101, 113–14 Strachey, Lytton, 154 Sue Bridehead, 121–2 Swithin St. Cleeve, 103 sympathy for characters, 4, 46–7 Tanner, Tony, 100, 103 Taylor, Dennis, 53, 73, 128, 130 telepathic effects, 37 Tennyson, Alfred, 72, 152 Tess Durbeyfield, 26, 29, 31–3, 77, 86, 89–90, 105, 122 Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 10, 26, 28–9, 31–3, 35, 77, 86, 89–90, 105, 122 tetrameter, 50, 54, 55 Thain, Marion, 153 thought in works of TH, 42, 45–6, 57, 59 time and music, 36–7, 48–51 Tomalin, Claire, 40, 67–8, 75, 132, 168 Tomson, Rosamund, 99 traditional music, 35–6 trochaic metre, 63 Troy, Sgt. Francis, 119–20 Trumpet-Major, The, 92, 104 tune and thought, 42, 52–66 Afternoon Service at Mellstock, 53– 7 Concerning Agnes, 61–6 Music in a Snowy Street, 57–61 Turner, Paul, 68 Two on a Tower, 92, 94, 103–5 unconscious, the, 97–8

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Index | 217 unconscious activities, 29–30, 112 Under the Greenwood Tree, 36, 76, 86, 90, 107–8, 112–13 ventriloquism in TH’s voice, 37 vision in novels, 122–3 see also eye contact between characters voice of TH, 13–19, 37, 127–9, 131–2, 143, 146, 151, 170 Well-Beloved, The, 24, 28, 35, 77, 85–6, 92, 94, 96, 112 Wesley, Charles, 180–1 Wildeve, Damon, 89, 109, 110 William Boldwood, 3–4, 119 Williams, Merryn, 7

Williams, Raymond, 7 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 181 women in novels, 75, 82–8, 114 in poems, 47–8, 57–8, 74 TH encounters with, 5, 26, 73, 99–100 see also Hardy, Emma; named characters Woodlanders, The, 8–10, 88, 90, 106–7 Woolf, Virginia, ix, 71, 84–5, 86, 99, 111 Wordsworth, William, 52, 141, 170 World War I, 171, 180 Yeats, W. B., 150

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