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By Andrew Enstice

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Extra info for Thomas Hardy: Landscapes of the Mind

Sample text

It is the codlin-trees and Geoffrey Day's hives which press most upon our attention, in their roles of domestic economy. The few references to nature which step outside this sphere are the passing observations of The village: Under the Greenwood Tree 43 men concerned more with the effect of rain upon their own persons, than with its effect upon crops and livelihood: A single vast gray cloud covered the country, from which the small rain and mist had just begun to blow down in wavy sheets, alternately thick and thin.

To express satisfaction the Casterbridge market-man added to his utterance a broadening of the cheeks, a crevicing of the eyes, a throwing back of the shoulders, which was intelligible from the other end of the street. Ifhe wondered, though all Henchard's carts and waggons were rattling past him, you knew 22 Thomas Hardy: Landscapes of the Mind it from perceiving the inside of his crimson mouth, and a targetlike circling of his eyes. Deliberation caused sundry attacks on the moss of adjoining walls with the end of his stick, a change of his hat from the horizontal to the less so; a sense of tediousness announced itself in a lowering of the person by spreading the knees to a lozenge-shaped aperture and contorting the arms.

Compare this description with that of the maltster, in Far from the Madding Crowd (a similar situation and grouping of characters in each case), 'his frosty white hair and beard overgrowing his gnarled figure like the grey moss and lichen upon a leafless apple-tree'. 1 5 Even making allowance for the development of Hardy's style, the contrast is remarkable .. I have already quoted the description of Mr. Penny at work, wherein he emerges from the craft of his shop, a human extension of his trade.

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