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Vacuums and Blurs: The Related Responses of Thomas Hardy and the French Impressionists to the Modern City

Dehn Gilmore

In his important book The Painting of Modern Life, art historian T.J. Clark examines the Impressionist painters’ grappling with modernity and a new set of urban conditions in Paris and its environs. Trying to sum up the set of relations that he perceives, Clark writes: “Something decisive happened in the history of art around Manet which set painting and the other arts upon a new course. Perhaps the change can be described as a kind of skepticism, or at least unsureness, as to the nature of representation in art.”[1] Interested, as he continues, to provide a working definition of “Modernism,” the “something decisive” that “happened,” Clark writes further:

Art seeks out the edges of things, of understanding; therefore its favourite modes are irony, negation, deadpan, the pretence of ignorance or innocence. It prefers the unfinished: the syntactically unstable, the semantically malformed. It produces and savours discrepancy in what it shows and how it shows it, since the highest wisdom is knowing that things and pictures do not add up. This is an approximate definition of modernism, and is not meant to suggest that modern art is incapable of criticizing its own assumptions or exceeding this one frame of reference.[2]

Clark’s phrasing is provocative, his ideas complicated; they will require and receive in the course of his work, many further iterations and elaborations. But perhaps one of his words’ more interesting features is not their specific complexity, but their generality; Clark seeks to describe the impact that Haussmann’s engineering of Paris had on Manet and his fellows, but his terms and turns are so grandly reaching as to beckon the possibility of further application.

Indeed, Clark’s formulation prompts at least one crucial question and this might be formulated as follows: will the nexus of new urban conditions, a traditionally rural art, and attempts at artistic modernism always look the same? The challenge of such an inquiry is not easily mounted, but a start on such an investigation will be the project of this essay, which will set Clark’s view of the Impressionists against a view of a rather different kind of “rural” artist: Thomas Hardy, who, in his final novel, The Well-Beloved journeyed unusually and in unusual fashion, out of Wessex and into the streets of London. The essay, which will first establish more clearly the terms of Clark’s work, will ultimately suggest that painterly and verbal trajectories may not be exactly the same, but that there are indeed surprising similarities of approach between the Impressionists and Hardy, and that these similarities prompt their own new questions in turn.

I. Clark

Before any comparison can be made between Hardy’s confrontation with the city and the one that Clark marks out for the Impressionist painters, it is, of course, first necessary to elucidate the features of Clark’s view. How does he think that the Impressionists deal with the city and the problem of representing it? How much success does he believe them to experience in their urban encounter? What does the challenge posed by the city have to do with new features of art? These questions drive at central facets of Clark’s argument, and in his answers to them lies the frame and scrim against which we will measure Hardy’s own verbal city venture.

At first, of course, Clark seems so specifically devoted to examining Haussmann’s work as a context for the new art, that it can be difficult to derive from his readings any kind of general precepts, let alone some that could conceivably be applied to Hardy. Clark notes, at one point for example, that: “A defender [of the impressionists against the charge that they were pawns of Haussman’s drive to glorify the new Paris] . . . might say that modernist painters, though they showed the new Paris, most often did so in terms which had nothing in common with the official myth. They largely avoided those spaces, perspectives, occasions, and monuments which Haussman himself would have seen as the essence of Haussmanization.”[3] And his repetition here of Haussman’s name can seem metonymic for how frequently the great shaper of Paris will be cited as a great shaper (either positively or negatively) of its painters.

As Clark moves along in his text, though, he does come to larger issues, and these are central ones to the study of any artistic encounter with the urban, and with modernity — concerns of class, crowds, and representation. For Clark, further, these are heavily interrelated issues, and their connection can be witnessed in one of his more important descriptions of the Impressionists’ sense of the city:

the margin of error in urban life has taken the place of the system, and that thus the city is rendered illegible — that that is its chief new characteristic. It has become a mass of edges now, overlapping and interfering with one another; and living in the city is a matter of improvisation, of moving from marginal area to another, of taking temporary shelter in one’s chosen subculture and risking each evening the uncertainty of the boulevard or the Eldorado . . . . This ball, this bar, this picnic . . . . They all seem to be places laid on for display but also for equivocation; places where people are hard to make out, their gestures and expressions unconvincing, their purposes obscure; and it is hereabouts that the city can be seen most sharply. That fact in turn inflects the new painting’s account of seeing in general: the visible comes to be the illegible, and the new city is thus the perfect place for the painter who trusts to appearances.[4]

The new city is the site of confusion or “illegib[ility],” and it is this because it is a “mass of edges” and crowded peoples, and because these comprise a variety of classes and “subculture[s].” With so much and so many jammed together, representation becomes very problematical and the Impressionists search (ultimately, Clark argues, in vain) for a solution.

They might, like Manet, show a crowd “thinned out into individual, slightly vulgar (or slightly elegant) consumers; the marks of sex and class and so forth . . . broadly handled, and meant as amusement. Everything is held in place by mere vision and design,”[5] a crowd in which there is a kind of Marxist commodification present, and in which “the classes coexisted but did not touch; where each was absorbed in a kind of dream, cryptic, turned in on itself or out to some spectacle, giving off equivocal signals . . . . Class exists, but Haussman’s spaces allow it to be overlooked.”[6] Or the solution might be, rather, to flee the urban and to deny its complicated, challenging juxtapositions and fragmented designs.

Indeed, according to Clark, this is precisely the solution of Claude Monet, who in his paintings at Argenteuil might have been expected to show the infringements of development and labour on that suburb, but who instead sought refuge in the landscape, “the one genre left” that allowed escape because ” nature possessed consistency now, in a way that nothing else did. It had a presence and a unity which agreed profoundly (this was the crucial point) with the act of painting.”[7] If Manet’s paintings are, to Clark, an effort to catch the urban, Monet’s become a kind of elaborate shell game, designed to hide it:

There is a rule to th[e] paintings [of the time in Argenteuil], and it must be stated roughly as follows: Industry can be recognized and represented, but not labour; the factories have to be kept still, as if that were a guarantee of their belonging to the landscape-a strange guarantee in an art which pretended to relish the fugitive and ephemeral above all else. Industry must not mean work; as long as that fictitious distinction was in evidence, a painting could include as much of the nineteenth century as it liked.[8]

Even when Monet does go into the city, as in his boulevard paintings, he still clings to the rural, and, as one reader has pointed out, the urban world he shows is not one with any fidelity to urban grit or grimness, but rather, is a site of “happy luminousity.”[9] Two painters, two different (and modern) efforts to respond to the new city, and yet, for Clark, Monet and Manet are representative of their painterly compatriots, and are ultimately acting in the same mode of confrontation with the city and with modernity. And it is this mode, with its aspect of bifurcated response, which brings us, somewhat improbably, to Hardy.

II. Hardy

As surely as the Impressionists are associated by most people (and by most marketers of coffee mugs and museum tote bags) with the French countryside, rather than with a developing Paris, so too Hardy is much more commonly thought of in conjunction with Wessex than with London. As his biography makes clear, however, Hardy cannot actually be viewed as always apart from the city. Rather, he first went there and took up residence in 1862, as a young man in his twenties, and he continued to spend time in the city — often in blocks of years — for the rest of his life thereafter.[10] What is more, as one critic has pointed out:

The fact is that he knew London well, lived there during a crucial stage of his personal development, and continued to visit the city until old age made the long journey difficult. London, moreover, makes many appearances in his prose and verse . . . London was important to Hardy, imaginatively and practically, from his earliest years.[11]

Like the Impressionists, Hardy too was present in the life of a city, and like them, he found himself challenged by this urban space, as he sought to practice his art in the manner to which he was used.

Raymond Williams writes quite convincingly in The Country and the City that “the real Hardy country, we come to see, is [a] border country . . . between custom and education . . . between love of place and experience of change . . . . It is this centrality of change, and of the complications of change, that we miss when we see him as a regional novelist: the incomparable chronicler of his Wessex.”[12] But his view, though apt, still casts Hardy as a “chronicler of ‘rural life'” only. What may be suggested by thinking about the work of Clark on the Impressionists, and the facts above about Hardy and his time in the city, is the way in which London too may be for Hardy, a curious “border country”-one that pushes him to a “between” space of representation in one of only two novels he set in London, the novel that would be his final novel, The Well-Beloved.[13]

The Well Beloved certainly has many curious aspects, and it is easy to see why its depiction of London is not the one that usually receives the most critical attention, or even, much critical attention at all.[14] The book, after all, has a strong aspect of the fantastic or the fabulistic about it; it profiles a sculptor, Jocelyn Pierston, and his forty year long effort to lodge the Platonic ideal in one particular woman, charting the rapid moves of this spirit from female to female, and especially from one generation of woman named Avice Caro to the next, until grandmother, mother and daughter have all been tried on in turn. In a novel in which the protagonist not infrequently gives speeches like the following, it is easy to see why the city is not a prime subject of inquiry:

I have always been faithful to the elusive creature [the ideal] whom I have never been able to get a firm hold of . . . . And let me tell you that the flitting from each to each individual has been anything but a pleasure for me . . . . To see the creature who has hitherto been perfect, divine . . . turn from flame to ashes, from a radiant vitality to a corpse, is anything but a pleasure for any man, and has been nothing less than a racking spectacle to my sight.[15]

Given a book in which the hero fails to age much for forty years and then crumbles into sudden ruin and loss of artistic sight, upon the disappointment of his project, it is perhaps predictable that examinations of the city should take a critical back seat.

But the very prominent position of the novel’s peculiar mythic aspects and the attention-grabbing nature of its often bizarre investigations of sexual relations can only account for the city’s absence from critical inquiry to some extent. It may also be the case that Hardy’s scholars miss the city from their accounts because Hardy himself often seems to deform his city space into something that seems almost unrecognizable given normal urban templates. Indeed, Michael Slater might suggest that “London induced in Hardy an even deeper anxiety than the one relating to class and sex. In the crowded city an individual could lose his or her identity, the very sense of selfhood.”[16] But what we are conscious of long before we are conscious of London as effecting a loss of individuality is the fact that Pierston seems to be the only individual in the city. The city is, for much of the novel, something of a ghost town.

For, to start to think about The Well-Beloved’s early scenes in London, is to encounter a world in which the city is represented as a set of cells, or, private spaces, connected by streets emptied out of their crowds. It is a world in which Clark’s notion of the new urban space as prompting “temporary shelter in one’s chosen subculture” becomes particularly applicable and appropriate.

In the novel, we first enter the city in the company of Pierston and Marcia Bencomb (a woman in whom the ideal temporarily resides) and we are prepared for crowded streets and pressing throngs by an observation in Jocelyn’s perspective: “Drawing near the great London station was like drawing near Doomsday. How should he leave [Marcia] in the turmoil of a crowded city street? She seemed quite unprepared for the rattle of the scene.”[17] Within a few paragraphs, however, the worry that is the central feature of this note is oddly belied. The two travelers arrive, and instead of battling through hordes or being upset by a jostle of elbows, they are suddenly in a cab, one seemingly without an embodied driver.

Their journey is quite explicitly plotted in geographic terms; we receive the following itinerary: “Bayswater . . . [then] They stopped the cab while they held a consultation . . . Changing direction . . . they went back to the Strand and soon ensconced themselves in one of the venerable old taverns of Covent Garden, a precinct in those days frequented by West-Country people.”[18] But at no point is there any mention of a single resident in the streets the cab passes through, and at no juncture does the driver make his presence felt. Such an evacuation of persons is easy to read as a natural product of the fact that Pierston and Marcia are in love, in a state often assumed to blind its participants to external persons. But this kind of reading is challenged as the pair’s visit to London continues.

Indeed, Pierston leaves Marcia at the hotel, and yet, comes no closer to finding fellows in the street when he walks out: “he began strolling slowly back [to his rooms]; he felt bewildered, and to walk was a relief. Gazing occasionally into this shop window and that, he called a hansom as by an inspiration, and directed the driver to ‘Mellstock Gardens'” where he will visit a friend, and another cell of the city.[19] Here, a driver at last is allowed to appear on the scene, but the streets still remain curiously empty, and the initial note about London that associates it with chaos and crowding still seems overturned; the street is the site of “relief” not of “Doomsday.” Pierston, like the painters’ subjects in Clark’s description, really does seem to “mov[e] from marginal area to another” and to “tak[e] temporary shelter” in his “chosen subculture” — the milieu of London’s artists. What is more, as he does so, he also fulfills the “improvisatory” aspect of Clark’s formulation and he and Marcia “chang[e] direction” before he lets himself be guided “as by an inspiration.” For Hardy as for the Impressionists, it would seem, the city is not a sphere whose representation has a simple or an obvious solution — unless the solution is one of non-representation.[20]

III. Hardy and Manet

As the novel continues, in fact, Hardy seems to reflect in his one work the responses that Manet and Monet divided between their two selves. On the one hand, Hardy continues to show a city of edges and of entities divided and cordoned by what Clark at one point identifies in Manet as “design.” The author keeps mapping an urban space in which “subculture” — in Pierston’s case one of clubs, salons and burlesque theatres — is the dominant culture, and in which the city has no real center or system.[21] Indeed, like Manet’s balloonist in the picture of “L’Exposition Universelle de 1867” that Clark much treats, Pierston is adrift and at one point, noted to be “floating in society without any soul-anchorage or shrine that he could call his own” because of his lack of domicile and domestic partner.[22]

What is more to the point of the Manet likeness, when Pierston finally does encounter people in the streets — significantly only when he is hunting for the second Avice within them, the people he does encounter are definite “types.” They may not be, as Clark will say of Manet’s types in the picture of the Exposition, “meant as amusement,” but certainly, they, like the painter’s figures in that picture, are “thinned out into individual, slightly vulgar (or slightly elegant) consumers; the marks of sex and class and so forth . . . broadly handled.” Pierston fears that he has sent Avice into great peril, in sending her into the city alone, and seems to see an undifferentiated mass of persons:

The shadowy clack figures of pedestrians moved up and down across the embrowned roadway . . . From the whole scene proceeded a ground rumble, miles in extent, upon which individual rattles, voices, a tin whistle, rose like bubbles on a sea. The whole noise impressed him with the sense that no one in its enormous mass ever required rest. In this illimitable ocean of humanity there was a unit of existence, his Avice, wandering alone.[23]

But Pierston soon finds out a cast of caricatures in the streets and the view of a London that lacks an individuation gives way to a view of the city as site for a kind of type-casting.

Pierston descends to discover first, and as we have been conditioned to expect, that “the dignified street in which he lived was almost vacant.” But then he perceives that there is “a red light, and at the corner, two men were talking in leisurely repose, as if sunning themselves at noonday . . . Lovers of a feline disposition who were never seen by daylight, joked and darted at each other in and out of area gates.”[24] The picture of the street is much added to when he finds Avice, and she recounts her street-level adventure:

when I had got the stamps I went on into the fashionable streets, where ladies are all walking about just as if it were daytime! . . . the gentlemen in the street were more respectable than they are anywhere at home! They were dressed in the latest fashion and would have scorned to do me any harm; and as to their love-making, I never heard anything so polite before.[25]

The street, populated for the first time in the book, is populated by men who live by an artificial sun, cats with an aspect of sexual perversity, and a class of “gentlefolk” defined by their fashion and their “love-making.” Whether the resulting picture seems more inhabited by Manet’s Parisians out for a holiday, or by the forces and figures that lurk outside of J. Alfred Prufrock’s window, it seems easy enough to say that the image really is one dominated by “slightly vulgar (or slightly elegant)” types with “the marks of sex and class and so forth . . . broadly handled.” If the effect is less parodic and more unsettling than the one ascribed to Manet by Clark, certainly it shares with Manet’s picture an important dimension of modernity.

IV. Hardy and Monet

Hardy’s depiction of the city as either emptied out, or, as full of discrete pockets of life with defined, and classified strata has, as is noted above, a partial resemblance to Manet’s own urban graphing. But it is also only part of Hardy’s strategy, or, confusion, regarding his portrayal of the city; to see the other part of his picture, it is helpful now to recover Clark’s discussion of Monet and Argenteuil.

To Clark, as has been said before, Monet’s encounter with urban life is actually one of willful non-encounter, or one in which one of the central features of nineteenth century urbanity — its industry — must be kept muted; as Clark says about Monet’s images, “Industry must not mean work; as long as that fictitious distinction was in evidence, a painting could include as much of the nineteenth century as it liked.” In the paintings of Argenteuil, this means an elision of labourers; in depictions of the city, it means the privileging of a mode of falsely celebratory, “happy luminousity”; in either case, toil and struggle are off the plane of representation.

As he has so far been considered, through a study of his emptied streets and vacant avenues, Hardy has already been seen to go part way towards his own kind of representational omission in his treatment of the city. What renders him even more like his more bucolically-inclined contemporary, however, is the way in which his streets are not emptied merely in a general way, but particularly of labourers and workers. When we first go to the island from which Pierston hales, on the first page of the novel, the impression we gain is that it is a site of much labour. In fact, Pierston’s first act in the novel is one of “laborious clambor,” as he ascends a road into the town of the island, and one of his first observations is of “sounds: whirr-whirr, saw-saw-saw. Those were the islands snores-the noises of quarrymen and stone-sawyers.”[26] This is precisely the sort of depiction we might expect from Hardy, for whom, as Elaine Scarry points out, “human character has . . . its deepest registration in the activity of work.”[27]

As we will discover upon accompanying Pierston to London, however, such an imagining of work is strangely anomalous in The Well-Beloved. Not only is the first act of agent motion in the city — the cab ride of Jocelyn and Marcia — carried out without a mentioned agent, or driver, but so too, other acts of labour are pointedly absent. Pierston makes several significant trips to the docks for example, in a fit of nostalgia for the island its residents, but only the fruits of the island’s quarrying labour are to be seen. The modern reader must play grainy clips of On the Waterfront across his mental retina to fill the docklands with the workers who are surely there, as Hardy gives us no imaginative help in descriptions like the following in which Pierston walks by:

where the stone of his native rock was unshipped from the coasting-craft that had brought it thither. He would pass inside the great gates of these landing-places on the right or left bank, contemplate the white cubes and oblongs, imbibe their associations . . . and almost forget that he was in London.[28]

And he fails to observe any workers, diminishing any lurking possibility of urban labour through the use of the passive “was unshipped” to describe the stones’ transportation into the city.

When people do finally appear on what heretofore seem more like sound stages than thriving wharves, furthermore, they are not the dock workers we have long expected, but are instead, natives of the Pierston’s island; Avice the second appears as “a female form on the opposite side of the way” and is soon joined by a skipper from the island and his wife.[29] The three turn out to be on a short trip to London, and the reader cannot help but feel that though they are due for reasons of narrative exigency (Pierston must see Avice again that he may come to view her as the new site of the ideal’s lodging), they are really allowed to materialize because they are islanders. The skipper’s wife may claim a fear of London and its unknown persons when she says “Lord sir . . . I should be afeard o’ my life to tine my eyes among these here kimberlins at night-time . . .”[30] But after she utters these words, as before, the docklands remain haunted, soul-less lands, and as in Clark’s description of Monet’s Argenteuil pictures, there must be none of the new city’s industrial “work” in evidence there.

V. Hardy and an Urban Art

I do not wish, as I conclude my analysis, to overstate the affinities between Hardy and the Impressionists as a group, or even between Hardy and specific painters like Manet and Monet. It is dangerous to do so not only because Paris and London were very different cities with different kinds of development taking place as their respective, artistic denizens sought to catch their image, and not only because the painters worked in paint and Hardy in words. There remains also the fact that the Impressionists, and Manet and Monet in particular, spread views of urban life across many canvases while Hardy worked his out in only a few volumes, and there is always a problem in trying to draw a rule from an exception, or an exceptional work.

But, as I hope this essay has made clear, the similarities of strategy and of failure that characterized the confrontation with the city by both painters and prose stylist as the nineteenth century moved on, do remain striking and seem informative, particularly in helping us to see that what makes The Well-Beloved a “modern” work is not just the apparent flirtation with aestheticism that has been the focus of critics interested in the book’s study of the platonic ideal and of the 1890’s artistic scene, but also its approach to the city, and its depiction of a city, which is, in the wording of Clark’s “approximate definition” of modernity”, a site of “the unfinished: the syntactically unstable, the semantically malformed,” a work of “discrepancy in what it shows and how it shows it, since the highest wisdom is knowing that things and pictures do not add up.”[31] Or, to borrow Hardy’s own words from 1890, when he was trying to formulate a definition of art for the modern age (to be applied across media):

Art is a disproportioning . . . of realities, to show more clearly the features that matter in those realities, which, if merely copied or reported inventorially, might possibly be observed, but would probably be overlooked.[32]

In the overlap of these words and of Clark’s much later ones, just as surely as in the common tactics of evacuation, articulated separation and labour-related falsification, that Hardy and the Impressionists employed, we can see modern art and artistry at work, and a possible reason why, when he saw Monet’s paintings of the countryside for the first time in 1889, Hardy singled them out for praise in an otherwise unenthusiastic report on an annual show. “As to the pictures of the year, they are not very great, I am sorry to say.” He wrote to his friend, Mary Sheridan, before continuing “[but] An exhibition of ‘impressionism’ pictures by Claude Monet was very interesting — he being the latest exponent of that school. In looking at them you could almost feel the heat of the sun depicted in the painting, & the dazzle of noon-day.”[33]


[1] T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1984), 10.

[2] Ibid, 12.

[3] Clark, 24.

[4] Ibid, 47-48.

[5] This is part of Clark’s description of Manet’s painting “”Exposition Universelle de 1867.” 66-67.

[6] Ibid, 73.

[7] Ibid, 182.

[8] Clark, 189-191.

[9] Christopher Prendergast, Paris and the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992), 69.

[10] Robert Gittings discusses the lure that London had to the young Hardy as a site of art and culture in Young Thomas Hardy (Boston and Toronto: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1975), 60-62.

[11] “London” in The Oxford Companion to Thomas Hardy ed. Norman Page (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 243.

[12] Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), 197.

[13] The Well-Beloved has an odd publishing history, and is actually a re-written version of a work called The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved that Hardy produced in 1892. The two texts share characters and themes, but have huge differences in plot that are “enough to turn the two texts into different novels (Patricia Ingham, “Introduction” to Thomas Hardy, The Well-Beloved [1897; London: Penguin Books Inc., 1997)], xvii). I have chosen to use the later work for my analyses because Hardy considered it to be his “final form” (Hardy, “1912 Preface” in The Well-Beloved, 174). Further references to The Well Beloved use the pagination of the Wordsworth Classic Edition (Ware: 2000).

[14] The novel’s depictions of London are investigated to some extent in Michael Slater’s excellent article on “Hardy and the City” in New Perspectives on Thomas Hardy ed. Charles P.C. Pettit (1994) But Slater is more interested in the Hardy’s painterly approach to the city than I will be here.

[15] The Well-Beloved, 203.

[16] Slater, 47.

[17] The Well-Beloved, 25.

[18] Ibid, 25-26.

[19] The Well-Beloved, 26.

[20] For another notable foray into unembodied streets, see Ibid, 44-49.

[21] Pierston belongs to several “gentleman’s clubs” (The Well-Beloved, 57). His trips to the burlesque, trips which render him quite similar to many of Manet’s subjects, take place off stage (52).

[22] Ibid, 38.

[23] The Well-Beloved, 93. This description supports Slater’s point about London and individuality (see n. 16). It also reminds us of one of Hardy’s more hyperbolic journal entries, an account of the city during the 1879 Lord Mayor’s show as “a monster whose body had four million heads and eight million eyes . . . As the crowd grows denser it loses its character of an aggregate of countless units, and becomes an organic whole”(Florence Emily Hardy, The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1928), 179. Though attributed to Florence Hardy this work is treated as an autobiography. (See Thomas Hardy, The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy by Thomas Hardy, ed. Millgate [Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1985], [x]).

[24] The Well-Beloved, 93.

[25] Ibid, 94-95.

[26] The Well-Beloved, 7-8.

[27] Elaine Scarry, Resisting Representation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 54.

[28] The Well-Beloved, 64.

[29] The Well-Beloved, 64.

[30] Ibid, 65.

[31] For an example of a work treating Hardy and aestheticism, see Alison Byerly, Realism, Representation and the Arts in Nineteenth Century Literature (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

[32] Thomas Hardy, The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy, 239. From a notebook entry dated August 5, 1890.

[33] Thomas Hardy, “To Mary Sheridan” (June 1, 1889) in Thomas Hardy, The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy ed. Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), I:191.

To Cite This Article:

Dehn Gilmore, ‘Vacuums and Blurs: The Related Responses of Thomas Hardy and the French Impressionists to the Modern City’. Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, Volume 2 Number 1 (March 2004). Online at Accessed on [date of access].