By Ian Scott-Kilvert
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Additional info for BRITISH WRITERS, Volume 6
And there's four ounce pennies, the heaviest I could find, a-tied up in bits of linen, for weights—two for my right eye and two for my left/ she said. 'And when you've used 'em, and my eyes don't open no more, bury the pennies, good souls, and don't ye go spending 'em, for I shouldn't like it. '" (The Mayor of Casterbridge, ch. 18) The grimly comic is not lacking when she tells how Christopher Coney dug up and spent the pennies. The passage ends with one of those lyrical sayings that abound in the prose of this poet: Q THOMAS HARDY and already, before he had done with them, they were revealing themselves in a wider context: the history of the human race and its place in the universe.
Each also contains characters who are faithfully and subtly exhibited. But that is not all. The action is significant. It moves according to a pattern that is part of the pattern of all life, and so yields an account of the world and the universe we live in. This visible tract of life unfolded before our eyes springs from Hardy's vision of life as a whole; it is nothing less than his conception of the universe expressing itself at given moments of time and in a given place, and the time and even the place itself participate in his cosmic conceptions.
Professor of English, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Publications include Norman Nicholson (criticism); The Deserted Village; A View of the Island (poems); (with Averil Gardner) The God Approached: A Commentary on the Poems of William Empson. Editor of E. M. Forster: The Critical Heritage. E. M. Forster. ELIZABETH COXHEAD. Novelist, biographer, and critic. Publications include Lady Gregory, A Literary Portrait; Daughters of Erin (biography); and One Green Bottle (novel). J. M. Synge and Lady Gregory.