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The Poems of Thomas Hardy Hardcover – 5 Oct 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (5 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999754
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 1.9 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,168 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 By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.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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About the Author

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English poet and novelist. His first novel, The Poor Man And The Lady, was written in 1867, but the first book that gained notice was Far From The Madding Crowd (1874). Among his works The Return Of The Native (1878), The Mayor Of Casterbridge (1886), Tess Of The D'urbervilles(1891) and Jude The Obscure (1895).

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First Sentence
She turned in the high pew, until her sight Swept the west gallery, and caught its row Of music-men with viol, book, and bow Against the sinking sad tower-window light. Read the first page
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Bookie on 22 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely definitive selection of Thomas Hardy's poems, chosen by Claire Tomalin, to complement her fantastic biography of Thomas Hardy. It's grouped by theme, and you can read his poetry as you would a novel: the story of his love affair and marriage with Emma, his first wife and the love of his life; his adoration of the Wessex countryside, his inner life. All in all this is a classic collection of one of our best loved poet's work. A must.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Proctor on 13 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lovers of Thomas Hardy's poetry are not well served by the ebook editions currently available but this seems to be the best on offer. There is a short, illuminating introduction by Claire Tomalin setting the poems in the context of Hardy's life and the poems are grouped by subject or biographical content with brief notes on most of the groups. Each poem starts on a new page and most of Hardy's best known poems are included. However the selection contains less than a hundred poems and some well known ones are inevitably left out. You will not find Beyond the Last Lamp, Friends Beyond and In Tenebris to pick out three.
The ebook edition does have a number of rather glaring faults. For some reason, except where he numbered stanzas, Hardy's division of his poems into verses has been done away with. In some poems the division into verses is integral to the poem's construction, for example in Afterwards, Wessex Heights and During Wind and Rain. Not having the stanza breaks detracts greatly from the enjoyment of reading the poems. There is no reason for it and it seems to indicate a certain fecklessness in production by the publishers.
The book does have a table of contents where each poem is listed but the table cannot be reached from the Go To facility on Kindle. To get to it after reading poems you have either to go to the cover and page forward or go to the Beginning, which takes you to the introduction, and page backwards. There is no index of poems by titles or first lines so the table of contents is the only way of navigating to individual poems.
All told, given the price, this thoughtlessness of production leaves you feeling a bit miffed. And the price is an issue. This is an ebook delivered by simple electronic transfer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Whatif on 4 Jun. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read all of Hardy's novels and love them all, so I was curious to see whether his poetry would be as good. Some poems are better than others, but overall I would describe this anthology as a soothing, relaxing, often poignant read. The one about the Titanic is especially imaginative.
I like to read the poems out loud ...... just for myself! Nice to reminded of slower times.
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By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Oct. 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a most attractive edition of the selected poems. Although Hardy remains more familiar to most as a novelist, he always regarded himself first and foremost as a poet, the stories merely a source of income to support his poetic work and ambitions. He is, I believe, a very fine poet, with a highly distinctive style and tone. He has influenced many more recent poets, perhaps most notably Philip Larkin.

Claire Tomalin has established herself as a respected literary biographer. Recently I read her account of Dickens’ life, but confess that I have yet to find my way to her biography of Hardy. The poems give a very balanced representation and include all the most widely anthologised poems, so it is unlikely that anyone will be disappointed to find a personal favourite missing. We all have our favourites often growing from Hardy’s touching on an experience that is uncannily close to one of our own. Two of mine are “The Voice” and “Drummer Hodge”. Many may be more drawn to those that focus on the Wessex landscape so familiar from the novels.

This anthology will make a fine addition to the poetry bookshelf and not one that will gather dust there. It would also be an attractive present to any poetry lover. A mild word of warning: do not try to remove the large sticky label on the back cover unless you are keen to remove a fair portion of the cover itself.
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