Prufrock's Page

Friday, January 19, 2007

Writing For Wives

At a time when Calvin Trillin's ode to his wife, About Alice, is reveiving warm and respectful reviews, it's salutary to recall -- as Slate's Meghan O'Rourke does -- the love songs of Thomas Hardy, which he began writing at the ripe age of 72: "...when Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and other Modernists were breaking open the conventions available to poets, Hardy deployed traditional English ballad forms and archaic, sometimes awkward, inversions. He saw celebrating the 'old ways' of England as one of his missions. Yet the best of the poems about Emma fit no category, and his traditionalism obscures a kind of radical modernity, an outlook that pierced through Victorian pieties to see the bedrock truth of an actual marriage."


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