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Hardy’s Influence on the Modern Novel by Peter J Casagrande

By Peter J Casagrande

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William Dean Howells, a respected novelist and the leading American critic of his day, wrote in 1895, I love even the faults of Hardy; I will let him play me any trick he chooses . . if only he will go on making his peasants talk, and his rather uncertain ladies get in and out of love .... His people live very close to the heart of nature, and no one, unless 30 Hardy's Influence on the Modern Novel it is Tourguenief, gives you a richer and sweeter sense of her unity with human nature. One year later, Willa Cather, a journalist in Pittsburgh and not yet a novelist, proclaimed her deep admiration for 'Thomas Hardy, .

I've got a child. ' Satisfied that she has repented and that she has been 'a good woman' since her slip eight years before, Fred responds, 'I did not mean to reproach you; I know that a woman's path is more difficult to walk in than ours. It may not be a woman's fault if she falls, but it is always a man's. ' Unlike Angel Clare, Fred has no sexual lapse in his own past to confess, and Esther 'did not like him any better for his purity, and was irritated by the clear tones of his icy voice'. "' What Moore revises in Tess in this way of depicting Esther's confession and Fred's forgiveness is Hardy's insistence that hidden motives and unanticipated consequences define human experience.

At least, they are not so near to sharing the situation of animals and plants as they are in Hardy's novels, especially the novels Hardy wrote after he wrote The Woodlanders (1887). Hardy, for all his departures from ordinary reality in Tess, can lay claim to a scientific realism largely absent from Esther Waters. For example, in Tess the death of the gamebirds under the guns of the hunters, and the slaughter of the rodents by the harvesters, are connected by the imagery of blood with the violation and death of Tess.

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