Page 129. " keen as a cameo "
A shell cameo
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA shell cameo - Credit: Matteo Pedani

Cameo is a style of carving that produces a raised image, often a different colour to its background.

Cameos in Victorian times were little portraits of the profiles of men and women presented in oval frames. They were sometimes worn as pendants or brooches.

The modern use of the word, to mean a brief appearance by a recognized individual on screen or stage, derives from the cameo brooch.

Page 132. " Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes "
Walt Whitman
Public DomainWalt Whitman

The lines are from the poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" by Walt Whitman.

Whitman died in 1892, and is still thought of as one of America's most influential poets. He published his major poetry collection, Leaves of Grass, in 1855 using his own money.



Page 133. " the single opportunity of existence ever vouchsafed to Tess by an unsympathetic First Cause "

The idea that the universe was begun by a blind, physical event (such as the Big Bang) was gaining currency as traditional ideas about God faded in the late nineteenth century. Around this time, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously coined the phrase "God is dead".

Page 134. " pleasure girdled about with pain "
A sketch of Swinburne by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Public DomainA sketch of Swinburne by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The line comes from "Atalanta in Calydon", a poem by the 19th century poet Algernon Swinburne. He, like Hardy and Tess, tended towards pessimistic ideas about the universe.


Page 136. " Old Mr Clare was a clergyman of a type which, within the last twenty years, has wellnigh dropped out of contemporary life "
An anonymous 16th century portrait of John Calvin
Public DomainAn anonymous 16th century portrait of John Calvin

This paragraph sets out all the influences on Angel Clare's father and his passionate, committed and conservative Christianity.

First, Hardy lists the historic dissidents and protestant church fathers with whom Clare senior has most in common: John Wycliffe, an early advocate of translating the Bible into English; John Huss, who was burned at the stake for spreading views that the Catholic Church regarded as heretical; Martin Luther, who began the Protestant Reformation; and John Calvin, whose theological system rested on the belief that people are helpless to save themselves and can only rely on God's mysterious grace for eternal life. All these men shared a certain fanaticism, a willingness to be persecuted and even die for their convictions, and a contempt for the established practices of the Church of their age.

Next, Hardy lists the New Testament writers whom Mr Clare likes (Paul of Tarsus, St John), dislikes (St James, who is sometimes thought to have been Jesus's brother) and feels ambivalent about (Timothy, Titus and Philemon). Essentially, what these likes and dislikes tell us is that Mr Clare is a great believer in the doctrine of "justification by faith". This is the idea that the good or bad that a person does in their lifetime has no effect on their chance of eternal life, so long as they truly repent of their sins and whole-heartedly believe in God. This explains why Mr Clare is so passionate about converting hardened sinners like Alec D'Urberville.

The reference to the renunciative philosophy of Schopenhauer and Leopardi would no doubt shock Mr Clare, as both thinkers were confirmed atheists. However, what they share with Mr Clare is a scepticism as to the possibility that human beings might make any difference to the world or their ultimate fate by their actions.

Finally, Hardy refers to several sets of religious rules, which Mr Clare variously likes or hates. The Penitential Canons are a set of regulations about the different penances that should be done to atone for various sins. As a believer in justification by faith, it's no surprise that Mr Clare has little time for these. The Rubric sets out the rituals that should be followed in Church services, dictating a degree of formality that is quite at odds with Mr Clares more impulsive and emotional preaching style. The 39 Articles are a set of statements published during the reign of Elizabeth I, which describe the Protestant Faith and the way it should be observed in the world.  

Page 137. " His Diocesan Synod and Visitations were the mainsprings "

The Diocesan Synod is the policy-making body for each Church Diocese, or administrative area. It is a forum where issues facing the Church are discussed. Visitations are when the bishop of an area comes to visit a parish.

Page 144. " exclaim against their own succession "

A quotation from Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Hamlet is talking about the craze for a particular group of child actors that is sweeping the land. By doing the adults out of a job, Hamlet implies, these children will end up doing themselves a disservice by ruining their own chances of working when they grow up. Angel's use of the quotation is more literal, implying that some members of the aristocracy are actively questioning the system that sees prestige and wealth handed down through the generations.



What, are they children? who maintains 'em? how are
they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no
longer than they can sing? will they not say
afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common
players—as it is most like, if their means are no
better—their writers do them wrong, to make them
exclaim against their own succession?

Act II, Scene 2

Page 144. " Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee "

Mr Clare is referring to two passages from the New Testament.

The first is from the Gospel of Luke (12:20). It is part of a parable about a rich man who, instead of sharing his excess food, builds bigger and bigger barns to hoard it, only to die before he has a chance to use any of the stocks he has stored.

The second reference, "Being reviled, we bless", comes from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians (4:12). The letter is one of several Paul wrote to new Christian communities to encourage and advise them on how to live out their faith.

Page 149. " Tractarian as to phraseology and Pantheistic as to essence "

Tractarianism grew out of the Oxford Movement and essentially means a form of Christian worship that relies heavily on symbols, rituals and ornate decorations. It is often described as "High" and is the opposite of the plain, simple, scripture-based "Low" worship favoured by Mr Clare.

Pantheism is the belief that God is the natural world, rather than a creator figure.

Page 149. " Leave thou thy sister, when she prays "
Public DomainTennyson

The verse comes from "In Memoriam" by the 19th century poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tennyson wrote the poem to commemorate his friend Arthur Hallam, who died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage. Like Tennyson, Hallam was a student at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was due to marry Tennyson's sister but died before the wedding could take place.