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January 25, 1921

Speaking on “Hardy and Meredith—a Contrast,” British novelist and lecturer John Cowper Powys asserted that the two modern novelists were “fundamentally poets,” according to The Vassar Miscellany News, “and it is in their poetry that they betray their attitude toward life. Meredith is an optimist, Harday pessimist, both are philosophers. But Meredith’s philosophy is of the sort that passes away. It is an intellectual clue to the universe, a sort of ethical propaganda, which Meredith uses, exlploits and tries to convert us to.” Hardy conceived man, by contrast, the Misc. writer said, “as an instinctive, irrational being…the direct antithesis to Meredith’s intellectualism…. His pessimism springs not from bitterness caused by a personal misfortune, but from a sense of [the] personal injustice of the world; it is a deep pity for things that die hurt; it is a vision of things, and not a mere theory.”

The Years