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Hardy: A Poet of Awkward Innocence - Literature review Example

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This literature review "Hardy: A Poet of Awkward Innocence?" analyses Thomas Hardy's poetry from the point of view of F.R. Lewis and his description of the poet's literary heritage as "innocent awkwardness". From this characterization, one can assume Lewis views Hardy’s poetry as something unsophisticated, inexperienced and lacking in a certain grace…
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Hardy: A Poet of Awkward Innocence
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Download file to see previous pages Perhaps he is referring to the somewhat detached nature that can be felt between the narrator and the subject in most of the poems: “A perfect gentleman then neared; / The wagtail, in a winking, / With terror rose and disappeared; / The baby fell a-thinking.” (Hardy, “Wagtail and Baby,” 13-16). Yet Lewis could also be referring to the sometimes awkward turn of phrase such as that seen in “Aberdeen”: “I looked and thought, ‘All is too gray and cold / To wake my place-enthusiams of old!’” (Hardy, 1-2). While several of Hardy’s phrases may have a certain roughness around the edges, a strange hitch in the rhythm now and again or a cool detachment from his subject, giving birth to descriptions such as Lewis’ ‘innocent awkwardness’, the poetry written by Thomas Hardy nevertheless reveals a quite sophisticated thought process and often demonstrates inordinately succinct imagery to associate with the difficult or complicated concepts regarding the true questions of the ages within his poems, belying the phrase could be meant for him.
For many readers of poetry, the sing-song nature of iambic meter such as that used through much of Hardy’s poetry is a signal of a lazy or less creative mind. It smacks of childhood lessons, schoolyard chants and unsophisticated attention to detail. “I scanned her picture, dreaming, / Till each dear line and hue / Was imaged, to my seeming, / As if it lived anew” (Hardy, “Song from Heine”, 1-4). These lines illustrate the unstressed/stressed nature of the syllables of the iambic meter. However, to dismiss this as an old-fashioned or unsophisticated means of writing poetry would be a mistake. Iambic pentameter, using five unstressed/stressed syllables in a line, is one of the most common forms of English poetry, rising from a classical Greek tradition of doing the same (“Iambic Pentameter”, 2006). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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