Satires of Circumstance

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Satires of Circumstance is a collection of poems by English poet Thomas Hardy, and was published in 1914. It includes the 18 poem sequence Poems 1912-13 on the death of Hardy's wife Emma - extended to the now-classic 21 poems in Collected Poems of 1919 - widely regarded to comprise the best work of his poetic career.

Title and structure[edit]

The collection's title was picked by the publisher, and disapproved of by Hardy, emphasising as it did the 15 light-hearted satires and sketches of 1910,[1] at the expense of the Poems of 1912-13 themselves, as well as of the 39 Miscellaneous Lyrics and the 34 Lyrics and Reveries, all with their more serious side.[2] These latter include such fine examples of philosophical meditation and contemporary observation as 'Wessex Heights' and 'Channel Firing'.[3]

Reception and influence[edit]

  • The collection's initial reception was very muted, only Lytton Strachey pointing out how the writing had “the subtle disturbing force of poetry...the secret of touching our marrow-bones”.[4]
  • The subgroup 'Satires of Circumstance' have been singled out as a significant influence on and template for Siegfried Sassoon,.[5] and may also have influenced the early D. H. Lawrence.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ F. B. Pinion, A Thomas Hardy Dictionary (1989) p. 238
  2. ^ R. Taylor ed., Personal Notebooks of Thomas Hardy (1978) p. 263
  3. ^ I. Ousby ed., The Canbridge Guide to Literature in English (CUP 1995) p. 830
  4. ^ Quoted in M. Seymour-Smith, Thomas Hardy (London 1994) p. 810
  5. ^ P. Campbell, Siegfried Sassoon (1999) p. 61
  6. ^ S. M. Gilbert, Acts of Attention (1990) p. 44

External links[edit]