Thomas Hardy and God


A beautiful clip from the 1996 film adaptation of Jude the Obscure

More synchronicity: today is Thomas Hardy‘s birthday (1840-1928), and he adds nicely to our ongoing consideration of religion, compassion for the poor, and the pseudo-literal conception of God. Here’s Frye in “The Times of the Signs”:

A later poet, Thomas Hardy, is never tired of showing what an imbecile God turns out to be if we create him in the image of the starry order. Hardy has a poem called God’s Education, in which God is represented as learning from the misery of man, in the manner of middle-class people reluctantly coming to realize that some people are not only poor but poorer than they should be. He has another called By the Earth’s Corpse, where God remarks, at the end of time, that he wishes he had never started on this creation business, for which he clearly has so little talent. (CW 27, 349)

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2 thoughts on “Thomas Hardy and God

  1. Veronica Abbass

    Thank you for this birthday reminder. Hardy’s novel Two on a Tower certainly shows the conflict between religion and science:

    ‘Well, Hannah, what news to-day?’

    ‘Oh, nothing, sir,’ Hannah replied, looking out of the window with sad apathy, ‘only that there’s a comet, they say.’

    ‘A what?’ said the dying astronomer, starting up on his elbow.

    ‘A comet–that’s all, Master Swithin,’ repeated Hannah, in a lower voice, fearing she had done harm in some way.

    ‘Well, tell me, tell me!’ cried Swithin. ‘Is it Gambart’s? Is it Charles the Fifth’s, or Halley’s, or Faye’s, or whose?’

    ‘Hush!’ said she, thinking St. Cleeve slightly delirious again. ”Tis God A’mighty’s, of course. (Chapter X)


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