By F.B. Pinion
A consultant to the works of thomas hardy and their heritage
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Extra info for A Hardy Companion: A Guide to the works of Thomas Hardy and their background
In its context, it is one of life's little ironies, and they are not always· presented tragically in Hardy's fiction. It is never allowed to disturb the hero's happiness. says', and 'the world's a very sensible feller on things in jineral'. Its 21 A Hardy Companion views are not disconsolate or tragic. Appropriately, this comic romance ends on a delicious equipoise of comic irony. nders) would be alien to the spirit of Under the Greenwood Tree (see p. 132 and p. 163). The reader's sympathies are most likely to be linked with the passing of the old choir, but even such sentiments are adventitious.
The heroic ending produces a climax, and also a suggestion of the factitious. The weather-vane at Overcombe Mill (ii) may be regarded as an apt emblem of the story. The sergeant's song (v) had been written in 1878. One chapter (xxiii) is remarkable for transcriptions. The opening para55 A Hardy Companion graph suggests recourse to the writer's notebook, for it is very close to the first paragraph of Desperate Remedies, xii 1; the 'Address to all Ranks and Descriptions of Englishmen' was copied at the Dorset Museum, and the drilling scene, from Gifford's History of the Wars of the French Revolution.
More obviously, it bears ample testimony to a resurgence of imaginative power. Hardy had chosen a subject more congenial to his 'idiosyncratic mode of regard' than The Hand of Ethelberta, and a setting which was steeped in early memories. The opening words of IV v, in conjunction with a hint in the 1895 preface, indicate that the period of the story was 1842-3 or 1847-8. The scene was the heath on the edge of which Hardy had lived. His grandmother's recollections of heath-croppers (cf. 'Domicilium', Life, 4) and of the Napoleonic invasion scare (the subject of his next novel), tales of the reddleman-bogy, his grandfather's almost legendary feats on the fiddle, his own boyhood fears when crossing the heath at dusk, stories of witchcraft and superstitious practices (still lingering in Wessex when the novel was written), memories of the mu=ers' play, knowledge of quaint local rustics, all contributed in some measure to the enrichment of the story.