By Ian Scott-Kilvert
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Extra info for BRITISH WRITERS, Volume 6
Fellow of King's College, University of Cambridge; University Lecturer in English, King's College. Publications include Conrad's Lord Jim; The Reign of Wonder; Saul Bellow; City of Words; Adultery and the Novel: Contract and Transgression. Henry James. KENNETH YOUNG, FRSL. Former Editor, Yorkshire Post; Political Adviser, Beaverbrook Newspapers. Publications include Dryden (criticism); Balfour; Baldwin (biography); The Greek Passion; Chapel (history). Editor of The Journals and Letters of Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart.
Sue—the ethereal, the fine-nerved, the idealist—has the same sensitiveness and becomes almost masochistic in her love of suffering. Hardy pursues the theme to a point where it becomes almost horrible in reproducing the affliction of the parents in their children. " says Little Father Time, working himself up to the mood that ends in his hanging himself and his baby brother and sister. "The doctor," it is reported, "says there are such boys springing up amongst us—boys of a sort unknown in the last generation.
The old superstition still strong in her, however, she shrinks and withers to her death before the terrors of the skimmington-ride. " she exclaims. " In these, Hardy's subtlest and most tragic books, we have a searching criticism of modern life and finally of all life. We have still the chorus of ordinary men and women, with rustic minds not yet unhinged, accepting life and judging it, gaily or sadly, in accordance with the older standards. But in the forefront we have others, born in the same milieu, who have come to put everything to the question; who have acquired the self-consciousness that is the distinctive characteristic of modern man; who question the fundamentals of the society we live in, the Tightness of social conventions, the sanctity of the marriage contract, the goodness of a progress and a civilization that bring so much misery to man, and finally, the benevolence or the omnipotence of the power that rules the universe.
BRITISH WRITERS, Volume 6 by Ian Scott-Kilvert