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The Collected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Wordsworth Poetry Library) Paperback – 9 May 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New edition edition (9 May 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853264024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853264023
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 12.7 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Hardy was born in a cottage in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, on 2 June 1840. He was educated locally and at sixteen was articled to a Dorchester architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he moved to London and found employment with another architect, Arthur Blomfield. He now began to write poetry and published an essay. By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.

On an architectural visit to St Juliot in Cornwall in 1870 he met his first wife, Emma Gifford. Before their marriage in 1874 he had published four novels and was earning his living as a writer. More novels followed and in 1878 the Hardys moved from Dorset to the London literary scene. But in 1885, after building his house at Max Gate near Dorchester, Hardy again returned to Dorset. He then produced most of his major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.

After a long and bitter estrangement, Emma Hardy died at Max Gate in 1912. Paradoxically, the event triggered some of Hardy's finest love poetry. In 1914, however, he married Florence Dugdale, a close friend for several years. In 1910 he had been awarded the Order of Merit and was recognized, even revered, as the major literary figure of the time. He died on 11 January 1928. His ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey and his heart at Stinsford in Dorset.

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By William Finch on 12 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Hardy is the most under rated poet that Britain ever produced.
Better known for his novels, Hardy always considered himself a poet first and foremost. And after the "un christian" reception that "Jude the Obscure" received, he decided to devote himself fully to poetry, his first love.
Much of his work relates to rural themes, and is wonderful in it's observation of both wildlife, and human nature. And no writer born before or since has possessed an eye for irony that could come near matching Hardy's.
I can't recommend Hardy's poems highly enough. I discovered them many years ago as a sixth form student who had began to doubt the wisdom of my parents and teachers in leading me down the road to Christianity. And when I discovered that Hardy had already been down the same road and expressed all of the same doubts, felt all of the same guilt etc. etc., and that he could express it in such wonderful poetry - I was reassured, amazed, absolved and made to feel a lot better about myself.
No poetry has ever meant so much to me - and almost certainly never will.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bert G. Hornback on 8 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
Thomas Hardy's poems are a treasure. Every time I read through the 950 poems in the "Collected Poems" I discover another half-dozen that I have somehow managed not to appreciate before. His "Collected Poems" is a must for any library; and the Wordsworth Classics edition is a good one to own.

Wordsworth Classics editions are generally very good--and reliable: their editors don't interfere with their authors' works! (If you read Hardy's "The Mayor of Casterbridge" in a new Penguin edition, you won't read most of the penultimate chapter; the scholarly editor has used an edition, neither the first that Hardy published nor the last that Hardy corrected, which excludes two-thirds--2,656 words--of that chapter.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. P. Van-asten on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback
The poetry of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is consistent with his attitude to language in which the written word should convey all the meaning, expression and power of speech with its many forms of dialect, an endeavour not unlike his poetic predecessors, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Robert Browning (1812-1889). Hardy was a great experimenter with his verse, changing the poetic form, rhythms and stress, so many of his poems have a contemporary feel to them.
The Collected Poems, contains over nine-hundred poems from his eight published works: `Wessex Poems' (1898), `Poems of the Past and Present' (1902), `Time's Laughingstocks' (1909), `Satires and Circumstance' (1914), `Moments of Vision' (1917), `Late Lyrics and Earlier' (1922), `Human Shows' (1925) and `Winter Words' (1928).
Many of his poetic themes, as with his novels, focus on man's internal and external struggle with the indifferent force that rules, which inflicts upon him directly, the sufferings, pains and ironies of life and love. Hardy felt a deep `kin-ship' with the land around him and nature features heavily in his many poems, representing various `symbolic' moods and emotions. Also throughout his verse one finds a hideous sense of loss and lurking oppressiveness with a terrific vein of sexual tension, (and I here quote from two of my favourite Hardy poems): `The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing/ Alive enough to have strength to die; / And a grin of bitterness swept thereby/ Like an ominous bird a-wing...
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rotgut VINE VOICE on 8 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback
Famously, Hardy gave up writing novels after the poor reception given to "Jude the Obscure". He concentrated instead on poetry, presumably muttering "Right!This'll show 'em!", or something similar, through his gritted teeth.
In my opinion, while admitting that, generally speaking, no one ever puts up a statue to a critic, posterity has something to thank the reviewers of "Jude" for. Instead of having yet more of Hardy's static and uninvolving prose describing the moral and physical problems of the rural Wessex townships, kind of a superior "Archers" without the silly voices, we have more of his excellent and varied poetry.
Some of the poems, particularly the war poems like "Drummer Hodge", have justly remained well known, others, such as "At Casterbridge Fair" may not be so familiar, but are equally fine. My own favourite is "Wessex Heights" a wry, sad piece that somehow manages not to be at all depressing.
Taken as a whole, the most striking thing about the poetry here is, perhaps, its modernity. The author's world weary, stoical recognition of the passage of time echoes loudly in our post-religious Twenty First Century.
Hardy's grasp of a dizzying number of poetic forms is impressive.He is (for some reason) regarded as being in the forefront of English novelists, these complete poetic works show he has, most unusually, the range and depth to be considered in the first rank of English poets too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bargonasco on 2 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
His genius as poet is brought together in one volume. You note his diversity, depth, and directness.
This book squarely demonstrates his place as a MAJOR POET.
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