Thanks David. The only work of Hardy’s I know very well is Tess… I remember
from reading Jude some 60 years ago that it was powerfully impressed by it –
but I can remember none of the details that created that impression. I only
vaguely recall a few particulars of Hardy’s life, but if my vaguely recalled
iimpression is correct, the passage you quote expresses a hope, almost a
fantasy, of Hardy’s which was neer fulfilled for him. His characters often
(this is based primarily on Tess, but I think it fits some of his other
works) have a dimly conceptualized vision of a possible life which they
reach for but can’t grasp. That note that Tess slips under the door _and_
unknowingly under the rug is a burst of contingency into life that
continually frustrates ‘objective’ aims. And Tess’s conception of what
might be seems to have been correct; had Angel (is that his name) received
the note, all _might_ actually been well.
Hardy was a disappointed “Progressive” it seems: his pessimism (or whatever
one calls it) the other side of the coin of the fatuous 19th-c belief in
“progress” somehow built into history. That “progress” is embodied in the
contrast between Tess’s two jobs (if I’m remembering correctly), the first
pointing ‘back’ to a (possibly wrongly) remembered ‘organic’ rural life, the
other the farm tied to the new capitalist industrial growth. The first four
chapters of Raymond Willians, The Country and the City, are good on this
nostalgia for an organic rural life that never existed. And to bring this
back to Eliot, the first section of East Coker, with the mottoes we’ve
recently touched on, is another version of this nostalgia for a past that
never existed. His ‘doctrine’ of divided sensibility and anever-never land
when sensibility was unified is also part of this complex.
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of David Boyd
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2010 8:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: OT - looking at prose, poetically
Quotation repeated with no italics
Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all)
when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher
sides of each other's character, and not the best till further on, the
romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality.
This good fellowship . . . is seldom superadded to love between the sexes,
because men and women associate, not in their labours, but in their
pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstance permits its
development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which
is strong as death -- that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the
floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is
evanescent as steam.
On 7 November 2010 13:13, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Can't read the italics. The young Hardy wrote at least one delightful poem
The Ruined Maid
O 'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?" —
"O didn't you know I'd been ruined?" said she.
— "You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!" —
"Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined," said she.
— "At home in the barton you said thee' and thou,'
And thik oon,' and theäs oon,' and t'other'; but now
Your talking quite fits 'ee for high compa-ny!" —
"Some polish is gained with one's ruin," said she.
— "Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
But now I'm bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!" —
"We never do work when we're ruined," said she.
— "You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you'd sigh, and you'd sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!" —
"True. One's pretty lively when ruined," said she.
— "I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!" —
"My dear — a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined," said she.