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Old 03-30-2012, 10:08 PM
Lance Levens Lance Levens is offline
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Greg,

Thanks for the "Tess." The pitiable dummy Hodge. Knowing how the name was seen in Hardy's time gives even more power to the piece and tells us something about what makes Hardy Hardy. He loves the common laborer and condemns the way he is misprisioned by society.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:15 AM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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Lance, your point is borne out in something I have just come across in Claire Tomalin's biography of Hardy. She describes a dinner where Hardy met Richard Jefferies and remarks that it may seem surprising that the two writers, both so closely associated with rural England, didn't get on. She goes on to say:

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He may have been simply too high-flown for Hardy; but when Jefferies published his striking study of rural labourers, Hodge and His Masters, in 1880, Hardy responded by attacking the use of the word 'Hodge' as a general and demeaning term.
She has a footnote to support this which reads:

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Hardy's essay 'The Dorsetshire Farm Labourer' was published in Longman's Magazine in July 1883. He describes the improvements in their lives but laments the breakdown of rural communities and says they have 'lost touch with their environment'."
Hardy's essay does not seem to be available on-line anywhere.
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  #43  
Old 03-31-2012, 05:18 PM
Lance Levens Lance Levens is offline
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Greg

Good literary detective work! He seems to have had mixed emotions about the name. We can safely assume the name was a cliche in Hardy's time, yet it was a cliche that referred to the plight of the farm laborer, to real people. Puzzling, isn't it?

Lance
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