Notes to Thomas Hardy's 'The Woodlanders'

Essay by Nicky_Ludd January 2003

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Thomas Hardy's


These are expansions on my own notes and queries on reading the novel. Some merely explain the meaning of words that are unusual to us - for more of this consult the relevant York Notes . Some pick up references and allusions which are not dealt with in the eds. notes to the Penguin edn. Some take issue with the eds. notes. The amount of space I spend on a point is not related to the intrinsic importance in the text of what it refers to. I am aware that some of my comments may in themselves need explanation. That is part of the point of an artwork - it leads the reader on to others, which in themselves ......

I refer to the text as follows:

' 10) 118-3 O Yes '

means the text in chapter X beginning with 'O Yes' or (in which they are pivotal) - at the third quarter of p118 of Penguin edn 1986.


1) 42-1 finical. 'affectedly fastidious or precise' (OED)

1) 44-1 left off ... At one time barbers were also surgeons. The traditional red and white striped pole symbolised blood-soaked bandages.

1) 44-3 dramas .. Sophoclean. Sophocles was an Athenian dramatist c. 400 BCE. His tragedies dealt with human passions and disasters in human, rather than divine or heroic terms. 'Unity' refers to Aristotle's aesthetics in the Poetics

2) 48-1 the physiological .... Hardy (TH) alludes to the evolutionary mechanism of Lamarck, and contrariwise allies himself with the Theory of Natural Selection.

3) 59-4 no detached...See the Fore Scene of Part First of TH's epic poem The Dynasts (1904). This presents - from the perspective of superhuman intelligences - a vision of human actions as not actually atomistic but as really aspects of the...