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Page 274

CHAPTER XIII
THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY

that "Art is a personal rethinking of life from end to end."
The whole period covered by the reigns of Edward VII and George V was one of enormous literary activity in Great Britain. Every branch of literature brought forth blossoms, and many of them bore good fruit. As years passed poets, novelists, and prose-writers emerged, some of whom were faithful to traditional methods, while others embarked upon innovations which at the time seemed strangely bold, but all of whom had something memorable to say.
Samuel Butler, 1835-1902, a clergyman's son, educated at Shrewsbury and Cambridge, spent some Erewhon. years sheep-farming in New Zealand before 1872. settling down to the life of a bookish recluse in London. He is best known for his remarkable satire Erewhon (Nowhere), in which, with an ironical vigour worthy of Dean Swift, he demolishes many of the shams and abuses of the existing scheme of things. His autobiographical novel The Way of All Flesh did not appear till a year after his death. Butler found time to interest himself in many subjects, including Greek literature and the Darwinian theory.
Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928, the son of a Dorsetshire stonemason, began his career as an architect, took to writing novels, and finally devoted all his energies to poetry. His 'Wessex' is as sacred a land to his admirers as the Edinburgh of Scott, the London of Dickens, and the Warwickshire of Shakespeare are to theirs. Disillusioned and relentless, Hardy sees his characters moving towards their inevitable doom, and traces their progress with an austere and poignant power all his own. The most famous of his novels, Tess of the d Urbervilles, is also one of the most

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