Hardy's Poetic Vision in The Dynasts
The Diorama of a Dream
Susan Dean


Susan Dean uses Hardy's own metaphor—the diorama of a dream—to interpret The Dynasts, his largest and last major composition. She shows that the poem presents a model of the human mind. In that mind is enacted an event (the war with Napoleon) and, simultaneously, the watching of that event.

The author provides a reading of the poem in visual-dramatic terms, using the diorama stage as the vehicle for the poet's field of vision. She then defines various visual dimensions, the relationships between them, and the various ways in which they can be seen and understood. Her interpretation draws on Hardy's autobiography and critical essays.

First published in 1977.

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