The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (152): Hardy knew this land

On the South Coast, we hear him loud and clear.

How sad that we lack a record of his own rolling voice.

 

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  • A surprising pleasure to find Thomas Hardy in the daily comforts, and read by beyond Wessexer such as Richard Burton, aWelsher who said, “All the Welsh are nturrrall ac-torts, and only the very worst become pro-fessionall.” though Dylan Thomas might demur. All are fine, with “Channel Firing” a stand-out.

    Hardy retired to poetry after his plays and novels proved too Realist for his public. He then wrote an epic drama, “The Dynasts” about the Napoleonic wars, in 19 acts and 131 scenes. ‘ thought to have inflnced developing American poet Robinson Jeffers, Ur-Beat classicist darling of the Sierra Club, environmentalists, and Big Sur lovers south of Carmel such as “Brother Antoninus”, William Everson. Jeffers adapted Euripides’s “Medea” for Judith Anderson; it played for years on Brroadway, then went on the road.

  • This has reminded me of Hardy’s extraordinary character study and physiognomy of Clement Yeobright by the firelight in the inglenook in “The Return of the Native”:.. “It was a scene in Rembrandt’s intensest manner, &tc.” Remarkable in all English literature. Anyone who grew up in the country, or a small town, even if not on the moor, can relate to it.

  • It was announced this week in UK that school children taking GCSE next summer when they’ll be 16 , can drop Poetry because they lost so much schooling from Covid.

    So Hardy will mean even less to the coming generation, I’m afraid

  • Hardy’s facial analysis of Clement Yeobright recalls John Galsworthy’s intuition that “the eyes are what we are; the mouth what we become.”

    This is best place I can find to note the 65th anniversary of Thomas Mann’s death in Zuerich 12 August 1955, after a thrombosis on the beach in Holland,relaxing from his 80th birthday festivities on 6 June. Author of “Zauberberg – Magic Mountain” and the music-besptted ;iterary triple-decker
    “Doktor Faustis”, life of composer Adrian Leverkuehn.

    I was in El Paso, Teas, that day on a train from Dallas to Los Angeles, and read of it in a newspaper I picked up on the platform during a stop there. He wa one of the two men I hoped to meet in California, not knowing he had moved back to Europe. But I eventually found one who had made my visit for me.

  • I’ve only now remembered that Hardy loved Anglican church music, sang in choirs himself, and made rubbings of inscriptions at churches he visited for architecturalstudIn “The Return of the Native” his protagonist, Clement Yeobright, eventually becomes an itinerant preacher.

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