Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-gvh9x Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-22T14:07:58.097Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

3 - Life's Little Ironies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

Sophie Gilmartin
Affiliation:
University of London
Rod Mengham
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Get access

Summary

The stories that comprise Life's Little Ironies (1894) date from the same five-year period: one from 1888, five from 1891 and two from 1893. Given this relatively concentrated time-span, it is unsurprising that the volume as a whole shows a marked consistency in choice of theme and situation. The earliest story, ‘A Tragedy of Two Ambitions’ (1888), revolves around the inability of two brothers to transcend their humble origins in order to pursue a successful career in the Church – like many of Hardy's characters, they live in the shadow of previous generations, whose influence they resent – while the final story, ‘An Imaginative Woman’ (1893), concerns, among other things, the inability of a mother to discharge her responsibilities towards her children.

The volume as a whole seems obsessed with the failure of nineteenthcentury men and women to negotiate a creative and meaningful relationship with both the past and the future, and this general concern with legacies is given a sharp focus by Hardy's anxiety at this time over the status of his own literary legacy, both in its interpretation of the past and in its susceptibility to misinterpretation in the future.

Type
Chapter
Information
Thomas Hardy's Shorter Fiction
A Critical Study
, pp. 93 - 116
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×