International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Hardy and Comets
Suleiman M. Ahmad

Comets seem to have fascinated Thomas Hardy. They figure prominently in three of his works: "The Comet at Yell'ham" (a poem); Two on a Tower (a romance); and a headpiece (a drawing). After placing Hardy's interest in comets in the context of his times and of his lifelong interest in astronomy, this study proceeds to an analysis of his use of comets, with particular attention given to Two on a Tower, his "astronomical novel." A discussion of what comets signify in Hardy's fictional world juxtaposes the narrator's view with those of the rustics. This is followed by a look at the cometary images in the other novels and poems as further evidence of Hardy's fascination by comets, a fascination that contributed to the shaping of his "idiosyncratic mode of regard."

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