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by Arthur Sherburne Hardy
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But Yet a Woman by Arthur Sherburne Hardy
Arthur Sherburne Hardy
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Professor Hardy first came before the general reading public in 1883, by the publication of "But Yet a Woman." Before that time he was known only to a restricted number of scholars by his mathematical publications. As professor of mathematics he had issued several works. He first published in 1881 the "Elements of Quaternions," which at once gave him a high reputation as a mathematical scholar. This was followed by an annotated translation of Argand's "Theory of Imaginary Quantities," and a contribution to a work on the "Application of Photography to Surveying," both belonging to Van Nostrand's Scientific Series.

But, while Professor Hardy was a worker in the field of mathematics, he always had a taste for literary subjects and literary work. Mathematical power implies a vigorous imagination, and it is not strange that he should have turned from the consideration of the nth power of numbers to a field that most would regard as more attractive, and took up fiction as his by-work.

The publication of "But Yet a Woman" was a surprise and delight to the public. The book was at once successful. Edition after edition was called for, and it was re-published twice in England. Seldom has the first work of an author met with such universal commendation. All were charmed with its graceful and sparkling style, with its rich description and its pungent, aphoristic sentences. The plot of the book was not important, nor was the delineation of character powerful. In neither of these points does Professor Hardy excel, although in his last story there is a more elaborate plot, and scattered through the book are several minor characters, like Father Le Blanc and Schonberg, that are very attractive, and the character of Passe Rose is well worked out and strong. But the public forgot to look for intricate plot and subtle analysis of character in its pleasure at the succession of delightful scenes and happy thoughts. Professor Hardy's power lies in his clear thinking, his happy expression of those ideas of life and conduct that are in every mind, "his appreciation of natural beauty, and his artistic arrangement of scene and incident, happily shown in the allegory of Death and Love in the "Wind of Destiny," and in the description in "Passe Rose" of the coming of night in the forest.

Newsdealer, Volume 1 [1890]

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