Previously in this series…
- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part I
- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy Part II
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part III)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part IV)
- Bob Dylan and Thomas Hardy (Part V)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part VI)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part VII)
- Bob Dylan And Thomas Hardy (Part VIII) (and 7 Curses, as nowhere else)
I know thy works That thou are neither cold nor hot I would thou wert cold or hot So then because thou art lukewarm And neither cold nor hot I will spue thee out of my mouth (Revelation 3: 15,16)
My love speaks like silence Without ideals or violence She doesn't have to say she's faithful Yet she's true, like ice, like fire (Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)
In ‘A Loadicean’, a novel by Thomas Hardy of the Late Victorian era, Paula Power cannot decide which man she should marry. She’s caught in the middle between George Somerset, a ‘modernist’ young architect; and the older ‘romantic’ Captain De Stancy, a descendant of an aristocratic family.
The woods are lovely dark and deep But I have promises to keep And miles to go before I sleep (Robert Frost: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening)
Her father, who made his wealth constructing railways, leaves Paula a half-ruined castle in his will, a medieval structure that once belonged to the Stancy family.
Paula’s enthralled by modern technology such as the telegraph; however, she accepts the Captain’s proposal of marriage. Unknown to her is that the Captain’s son is a drinker and ne’er-do-well who hopes to get his gambling hands on her money. He’s faked a telegram ‘exposing’ young George as a drunk and gambler.
Finding out about the deceit, pretty Paula decides to marry the architect instead ; the Captain’s no-good son sets a fire in the castle; George says he’ll design a modern house for the couple to live in.
Still Paula’s torn between fantasies of the ‘romantic’ past, and the ‘realism’ of the present – the times they are a-changing.
Charles Darwin hath ploughed asunder the idealiism of poet William Wordsworth’s transcendentalist views of a divinely driven Nature.
“A Loadicean” by Hardy is partially a lament for this having happened, and partially a paean to the evolution of modern technology.
In the verse below, the middle-of-the-road poet sides with both Wordsworth and Darwin; he sees beauty in the natural environment, but feels no divine spark within it:
The river whispers in my ear I've hardly a penny to my name The heavens never seemed so near All my body glows with flame The tempest struggles in the air Unto myself alone I sing .... The evening sun is sinking low The woods are dark, the town is too They'll drag you down, they'll run the show (Bob Dylan: Tell Old Bill)
We are constantly looking for authors who can offer a new perspective on Dylan’s work. If you have an article ready, or just an idea for an article, I’d love to hear from you – just email Tony@schools.co.uk You can send me the full article (as a word file ideally) or just the idea, as you wish.
The bad news is we don’t pay. The good news is your article will be widely read across the English speaking world, and if you are young enough to care about your CV, it can look good there.
We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with getting on for 10,000 members. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link And because we don’t do political debates on our Facebook group there is a separate group for debating Bob Dylan’s politics – Icicles Hanging Down