Explain this paragraph from a Hardy novel

Discussion in 'Books, Music, TV & Movies' started by Lucifer666, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Lucifer666

    Lucifer666 all the world needs is me

    Apr 22, 2011
    The Fourth Dimension
    Thomas Hardy is criminally underrated. Probably to do with the cleverness of his writing style, which in this instance I feel has become too clever to comprehend.

    I am reading Two on a Tower, and to provide context for this quote, the novel revolves around a landowner, Lady Constantine, who has fallen in love with her decade-younger 'social inferior'. He is an astronomer who was rushing to have his latest discovery report published. Upon delivering it he receives the latest issue of a scientific journal in which he finds out that someone else beat him to it, and the discovery is no longer his own. In a fit of fury he lies face-down in the rain and passes out, leading to his grave illness. A paragraph describes how everyone was anticipating the announcement of his death, and it is followed by:

    From "Too many maimed..." onwards has left me confused. Can someone explain this in more accessible language?
  2. Pedeadstrian

    Pedeadstrian GBAtemp's Official frill-necked lizard.

    Oct 12, 2012
    United States
    Sandy Eggo
    It's way too late to be reading something like this, but I'll give it a shot.
    First paragraph and Shakespeare quote: "Too many deaths (like one would imagine would happen to St Cleeve in this situation) are happening all the time in this drab world to justify the addition of even more poor souls who meet untimely ends."

    Last paragraph is basically saying that it's a miracle that he isn't dead.
    Veho likes this.
  3. Lucifer666

    Lucifer666 all the world needs is me

    Apr 22, 2011
    The Fourth Dimension
    Perfect, thank you.

    If anyone else would like to take a crack at it or has something to add, feel free. I get the general meaning of the last paragraph but as yet am still trying to decipher that last clause, from "operating so..." onwards.
  4. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

    Former Staff
    Apr 4, 2006
    "Too many maimed histories (such as his would have read, in those circumstances) are hourly enacting themselves in this dun-coloured world to justify the gratuitous infliction of yet other mournful details concerning those

    'Who lay great bases for eternity
    Which prove more short than waste or ruining.'​

    The same tragic stories are seen and repeated over and over again, only to serve as "proof" to those who say all man's works and endeavors are temporary and meaningless.

    "[the] reflex rule of the vassal soul over the sovereign body, which, operating so wonderfully in elastic natures, and more or less in all, originally gave rise to the legend that supremacy lay on the other side."

    The power of soul (mind) over body that comes out in extreme circumstances, and makes people believe the soul is transcendent/superior/in charge.