By Herbert N. Schneidau

This can be a research of the main paradoxical point of modernism, its obsession with the earlier. Eliot wrote that the artist has to be unsleeping ''not in basic terms of the pastness of the previous, yet of its presence.'' This creed permeated the flow: Modernists believed that the energies of the earlier will be resurrected in smooth works, and they may be the very strength that makes these works smooth: the urge of Pound and others to ''make it new'' stemmed from seeing the earlier as a resource of renewal. Schneidau specializes in separate texts that include those innovations: Joyce's Ulysses, Hardy's poems, Forster's Howards finish, Conrad's undercover agent, Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and at last Pound's Cantos. In his discussions, many little-noticed connections are tested, together with a transatlantic set: Hardy with Pound, Forster with Fitzgerald, Joyce and Lawrence with Anderson.

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Waking Giants: The Presence of the Past in Modernism

It is a research of the main paradoxical element of modernism, its obsession with the prior. Eliot wrote that the artist needs to be unsleeping ''not merely of the pastness of the previous, yet of its presence. '' This creed permeated the flow: Modernists believed that the energies of the previous might be resurrected in smooth works, and they may be the very strength that makes these works smooth: the urge of Pound and others to ''make it new'' stemmed from seeing the earlier as a resource of renewal.

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If you should observe him in rough or gloomy weather, perched on an elmtop, swayed about this way and that by the gusts, singing his best, you must believe that this dark aspect of things delights him; that his pleasure in life, expressed with such sounds and in such circumstances, must greatly exceed in degree the contentment and bliss that is ours. . The sound is beautiful in quality, but the singer has no art, and flings out his notes anyhow; the song is an outburst, a cry of happiness. The last phrases especially could have inspired Hardy to play a subtle variation on the theme that art lies in concealing art.

He cannot be sure. He is related to the speaker in "The Shadow on the Stone" or "The Oxen," who fears to resolve his doubts and would rather leave them suspended. Yeats, on the other 10. "Leda and the Swan," in The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (Macmillan [New York] 1957), p. 212. The Century's Corpse Outleant: Hardy and Modernism 35 hand, is quite sure that the brute blood of the air infused the whole ancient era through the impregnated Leda, so though we may wonder in passing if Leda got a glimpse from a godlike perspective, the real point of the lines is precisely the incarnation asserted: the question disguises a statement.

Surely this effect was calculated by Hardy as a reply, if not a reproof, to the Romantics. Even if Harold Bloom is right that what looks like Nature poetry is really "antinature," or if we have missed the ironies in Keats's treatment of the nightingale, Hardy probably saw them in the more obvious way. Certainly he is careful to exclude 13. Fiction and the Ways of Knowing: Essays on British Novels (University of Texas Press, 1978), p. 111. The Century's Corpse Outleant: Hardy and Modernism 39 all thoughts of the transcendence that we associate with Romantic concepts of imagination.

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