Collected essays victorian - what is a thesis statement in a rhetorical analysis









collected essays victorian

collected essays victorianCollected essays victorian -They contain biographical information, criticism and personal impressions about Hardy’s work.Mosses and hepatics, in the nineteenth century as now, were — perhaps unsurprisingly — relatively unpopular plants.Never one to exaggerate the beauty of the tropics, the botanist (whose health was on a brief upswing in 1855) had a private, almost religious reaction to this bryological setting.His early notes were, and are, considered nearly flawless examples of botanical record keeping.This article surveys only some of the immense number of publications devoted to Hardy’s work.Although he never fully transformed into a species of moss, Richard Spruce’s uncommon affinity with the plants relegated his work to the depths of the botanically obscure, wildly useful to other bryologists, but unread and uninteresting to the broader public.Taken by the botanical riches, he went on that “I could almost fancy myself in some primeval forest of Calamites, and if some giant Saurian had appeared, crushing its way among the succulent stems, my surprise could hardly have been increased”.Spruce’s long, detailed, and almost obsessive passages about mosses and hepatics shrank into the shadows.Rather, in introducing the volumes to readers, Wallace emphasized the smallest sections of Spruce’s work — his quick and conventional references to the Amazon’s more sensational stories, ranging from naked warrior women to gold and vampire bats.Nearly every early book or article on Thomas Hardy at least alludes to the writer’s fatalism and pessimism.This swashbuckling story of botanical espionage, though, obscures what Spruce spent most of his life obsessed with: those most minute and mundane specimens of the plant world — bryophytes, or mosses and liverworts.Hardy’s pessimism was studied by Helen Garwood in (1932) points to the affinity with Schopenhauer, but also emphasises that Hardy was primarily affected by 19th-century English philosophical development, particularly by the works of Thomas Huxley and Herbert Spencer. Elliott published a study, , in which he discussed the writer's idea of uncaring nature and manifestations of fatalism in his novels.Finding naturally produced steps embedded in the cliff, it was: thus easy to walk under the cataract without being wetted, though the rocks drip here and there and are everywhere thickly clad with ferns and Hepaticae, but especially with Selaginellae, of which I gathered four species not found in adjacent forests.Lacking roots, flowers, and seeds, bryophytes require tedious, trained microscopic observation in order to study their intricate characteristics.Lionel Johnson’s (1894) is one of the earliest critical appraisals of Hardy’s fiction discussed in terms of the discrepancy between urban discord and rural order.After listing all of the mosses and hepatics that could be found growing in “shady rivulets”, Spruce wrote that “I had never seen anything which so astonished me”.Of other early full-length studies on Hardy’s achievement a mention should be made of Annie Macdonnell’s (1894).Elaine Ayers explores the work of this unsung hero of Victorian plant science and how his complexities echoed the very subject of his study.While preserving bryophytes is relatively easy — usually only a single cell thick, they can be dried and pressed even in the dampest and most inhospitable environments — bryological collections seem divorced from any verdant aesthetics usually associated with flora.These miniscule plants, too, fit uneasily into broader botanical categories.collected essays victorianAs his health declined dramatically in the following years, Spruce retreated into his beloved collections, spending what little energy he had left by working for just a few minutes at a time on classifying microscopic specimens into meticulous arrangements of sporophytes and peristomes.Spruce’s handwriting was impeccable; precise locations, dates, and environmental conditions marked every specimen he collected.Only a very general discussion of the novels is offered. Cecil’s book provides a more detailed and critical analysis of the novels.Man has an unlimited capacity for consciousness, but life is controlled by the blind forces of unconscious and indifferent nature.Botanists, even now, regard Richard Spruce as a true “botanist’s botanist”.Writing to a colleague in 1889, Spruce lamented that unbearable headaches prevented him from using the microscope for more than a few minutes at a time.Examining them in the field involves crawling around on hand and knee, dissecting complicated colonies growing on rocks and stumps with a hand lens and tiny forceps.After building unparalleled botanical collection and classification skills in England’s countryside and then in the Pyrenees, Spruce joined his good friends Alfred Russel Wallace and Henry Walter Bates in Brazil at the age of thirty-two, backed and brokered by prominent botanists at Kew Gardens.Indeed, despite his later reputation as a smuggler of cinchona, Spruce had little personal interest in utilitarian plants.He sees Hardy as an artist who combined successfully the function of a thinker with that of a writer.It concentrates on Hardy's appreciation of rural life.Lascelles Abercrombie’s (1912) provides a blend of biographical information and critical analysis of Hardy’s tragic conception of the world.remains a usable and useful guide to South American liverworts, and Spruce’s herbarium sheets are some of the most carefully arranged and beautiful specimens of mosses ever created.According to the critic, Hardy was influenced by Huxley’s view that nature is not ethical. A number of critical studies on Hardy's fiction and poetry were published in the 1930s and 1940s. Rutland's (1938) traces the impact on Hardy of the Bible, the Greek and Roman classics, the English poets (Crabbe, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley and Swinburne), and the work of Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Herbert Spencer, Leslie Stephen, John Stuart Mill and others.Both the botanist and his bryological colleagues struggled with how “popular” their work could aspire to round, now flattened, now knotted, and now twisted with the regularity of a cable”.At the time of his death, the botanist had accumulated a massive bryological herbarium, thousands of pages of specimen lists that tracked floral biogeographical distribution, travel journals that described his daily habits in the Amazon and Andes, and countless letters to Europe’s and America’s foremost scientists.The mosses and hepatics that he collected in this “primeval” area brought him a large sum of money, one of the most valuable collections of his fifteen-year expedition.Bryophytes mattered to mid-nineteenth century botanists primarily because of their role as primeval beings, plants that predated almost all other vegetative life amidst a growing scientific fever for evolutionary studies.He compares Hardy’s philosophy to that of Schopenhauer because both writers view the universe as an automatic clockwork; man is a willing being rather than a thinking one. collected essays victorian The sets of mosses and hepatics that Spruce collected in South America (which, when sold to subscribers back in Europe, supplied most of his meager income while travelling) only appealed to serious plant scientists with bryological interests.Richard Spruce, along with his favorite bryological specimens, occupied tenuous, almost dual identities in Victorian science.“One day last week a dentist relieved me of four teeth”, Spruce joked to a friend, “and I now belong to the genus Gymnostomum; but by the time you come over I hope to have developed a complete double peristome”.One need only look to the climax of Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent historical novel, — a long-coming sexual awakening that takes place in a hidden moss-covered grotto in Tahiti — as evidence for the strength and longevity of this Victorian plot device.Reflecting on his Amazonian collections, Spruce described his unusual, and perhaps debilitating, draw to hepatics (liverworts), in particular.The reasons for this strange dual identity of bryophytes as both mundane and as primal are relatively clear: realistically, moss provided a soft bed for sexual romps that had to take place outside of stuffy Victorian homes.Blunden’s adulatory work is based on Hardy’s articles, speeches and the two volumes of autobiography published by his second wife.The answer, it seems, lies in Spruce’s unceasing love for the meticulous and the mundane.Although these qualities made him a respectable, credible source to his colleagues in the mid-nineteenth century — Spruce, for example, was never accused of exaggerating the geographical range of his expedition, unlike most explorers — everyone seemed to recognize that his work just wasn’t interesting to the general public.Nor was the botanist particularly interested in the tropical species that we usually associate with floral beauty — orchids, palms, birds of paradise, and the like, that made other naturalists famous.So why, then, is the naturalist missing from most histories of Victorian science?Early criticism includes a few works which deal with the philosophical and psychological perspective in Hardy’s work.The main themes in Hardy’s novels, according to the scholar, are chance, social conditions and sexual determinism.The critic provides evidence of kinship between Hardy’s rural heroes and Shakespeare’s rustics.Although he generally fits into the category of masculine, sensationalist Victorian explorer (along with Wallace and Bates), Spruce was far from the strong, resilient model of conqueror of nature; for most of his life, the naturalist was too sick to work, and spent his favorite days in the Amazon sitting quietly on the ground, examining the miniscule plants that reminded him of home.This, then, is the story of how one of Britain’s most promising, skilled explorers struggled to find a place in Victorian science, unable to shake his love for the underdogs of the plant world.Although he had suffered a period of particularly bad health while travelling through a damp and cold region, the botanist came across a scene rich in bryophytes, delighting him to no end.Some post-war critical studies on Hardy’s work concentrated on his pessimism, others tried to show his humanism. Webster claims in (1947) that Hardy’s pessimism was mainly shaped under the influence of Leslie Stephen’s determinism.From 1849 to 1864, the botanist trekked along the Amazon and its tributaries, ending up in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador on a successful collecting mission for Kew Gardens and the English East India Company.It is true that the Hepaticae have hardly as yet yielded any substance to man capable of stupefying him, or of forcing his stomach to empty its contents, nor are they good for food; but if man cannot torture them to his uses or abuse, they are infinitely useful where God has placed them, as I hope to live to show; and they are, at the least, useful to, and beautiful in, themselves — surely the primary motive for every individual existence. collected essays victorian This day in the “mossy cirque” was one that Spruce seemed unable to forget even after returning to England’s more “temperate climes”.The water falls into a deep trough, from which spray dashed out and is borne downward by the rush of the cataract.Indeed, although Wallace believed that the volumes would “take their place among the most interesting and instructive books of travel of the nineteenth century”, he was careful to print the longer, more detailed botanical passages (mostly bryological in nature) “in smaller type, so that they may be readily skipped by those who are chiefly interested in the actual narrative of Spruce’s travels”.Although tropes of sexual encounters occurring in gardens and forests far predated the nineteenth century, both realistically and literarily, these hidden moss grottoes conjured up an image of something semi-religious, some secret refuge from the trials of urban — and overwhelming imperial tropical — life.In a passage scrawled in his journal, and later reprinted in nearly all of his obituaries because it seemed so inherently characteristic, Spruce revealed his innermost botanical leanings.After climbing for hours on end to reach a picturesque waterfall, Spruce snuck behind the fall into a space that he remembered as an overwhelming high point of his expedition.Although bryophytes actually thrive in cooler environments (like England), Spruce’s livelong mysterious bodily afflictions prevented him from living comfortably in these same conditions.Piled up herbarium sheets appear uniformly brown and amorphous, their hidden natural beauty only revealed under more careful, time-consuming microscopic study.The beauty of the Amazon, to Spruce, lay in the humble, Godly mosses and hepatics that hearkened back to his botanical ramblings back in Europe, providing respite from the rainforest’s apparently underwhelming — albeit dangerous — daily existence.After years of trekking through thick forests, dealing with overturned canoes and lost collections, outwitting a mutinous attack by his native porters, and, as always, dealing with unceasing illnesses, infections, and his usual bloody cough, the botanist “found reason to thank heaven which had enabled me to forget for the moment all my troubles in the contemplation of a simple moss”.His descriptions of mosses and liverworts continue to be some of the most specific and accurate ever recorded.Abercrombie observed that: The obvious quality of Hardy's tragedy is that it does not begin in the persons who are most concerned in it; it is invasion into human consciousness of the general tragedy of existence, which thereby puts in living symbols." [25] Charles Duffin’s (1924) Ernest Brennecke regards Hardy as a philosopher by nature.Born in Yorkshire in 1817, the tall, thin, and handsome Richard Spruce had always been drawn to nature’s most unassuming plants.Dismissing the picturesque image of the Amazon filled with “gay flowers, butterflies, and birds”, Spruce argued that popular naturalists (like Wallace and Bates) would “utterly mislead” readers, “if they were thereby led to suppose that even a tithe of those beautiful objects were ever to be seen all together, or in the space of a single day”.The water winds away among mossy blocks and then is lost beneath them for a considerable distance…The whole aspect of this mossy cirque, with its broad riband of falling water, embosomed in dense luxuriant forest, in which was visible no palm, was something of an admixture of tropical scenery with that of temperate climes.Spruce’s most popular, oft-quoted journal entry described his realization of the “idea of a primeval forest” upon reaching Brazil, a rich depiction of “enormous trees” that were “decked with fantastic parasites, and hung over with lianas, which varied in thickness from slender threads to python-like masses …It becomes apparent that every generation of critics sees something different in Hardy’s writing.“Books on Hardy are legion.” — Norman Page (ix) Critical literature about Thomas Hardy’s fiction is diverse and vast in extent, and it has been changing gradually in emphasis and evaluation.Obsessed with the smallest and seemingly least exciting of plants — mosses and liverworts — the 19th-century botanist Richard Spruce never achieved the fame of his more popularist contemporaries.The critic argues that Hardy created symbolic characters and settings which represent his philosophical outlook. collected essays victorian Never one to exaggerate the beauty of the tropics, the botanist (whose health was on a brief upswing in 1855) had a private, almost religious reaction to this bryological setting. collected essays victorian

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