By Peter J Casagrande

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Lawrence cherished in Hardy what he cherished in Shakespeare, Sophocles and Tolstoy: 'that there exists a great background, vital and vivid, which matters more than the people who move upon it. . ' Sinclair Lewis, the American realist, was 'joining a majority of intelligent readers' when he wrote in 1925, Hardy is probably the greatest living novelist. . There is in Hardy such a combination of nobility with closeness to earth, of dignity with quick humanity, as can be equaled only in one or two of the Russians.

3 This poem, a dialogue between 'Jude' and 'Sue', exhibits a relationship similar to Paul and 32 Hardy and D. H. Lawrence 33 Miriam's in Sons and Lovers, as well as to George and Lettie's in Lawrence's first novel, The White Peacock (1911). Not just in the distressed heroine of this first novel, but also in the use there of symbolic scenes as structural devices, Lawrence was reaching back to Hardy. 4 Lawrence was 'consciously or unconsciously ... attempting to correct his mentor [Hardy]' by correcting Hardy's pessimism - that is, by demonstrating that in 'passionate, willful individuality lies the only hope for survival'.

Bar the style, it seems to me about as bad as Reynolds . . or to be more plain, to have no earthly connection with human life or human nature; and to be merely the ungracious portrait of a weakish man under a vow to appear clever, as a ricketty schoolchild setting up to be naughty and not knowing how. I should tell you in fairness I could never finish it; there may be treasures of the Indies further on; but so far as I read, James, it was, in one word, damnable. Not alive, not true, was my continual comments as I read; and at last - Not even honest!

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