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Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems [Paperback]

Thomas Hardy , James Gibson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £19.70
Price: £16.58 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Nov 2001
Thomas Hardy's first love was always poetry. It was not until 1898, when he was fifty-eight years old, having already established his reputation with fourteen novels and over forty short stories, that his first book of poetry, Wessex Poems was published. For the final thirty years of his life he abandoned fiction and devoted himself entirely to poetry. It is a tribute to his remarkable powers of creativity that he is now not only regarded as one of the most important English novelists but is also recognised as a poet of major stature and ever increasing popularity. The Complete Poems, edited by James Gibson, includes all of Hardy's prolific output of more than nine hundred poems, complemented by a detailed notes section. Collected in this single volume are his eight books of verse, all the uncollected poems, 'Domicilium' and the songs from The Dynasts. This new edition contains an additional poem, The Sound of Her.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (15 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333949293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333949290
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 5.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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 By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.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.

Product Description


'When the paperback of Gibson's Complete Poems is in stock, why buy anything else?' - Professor Dennis Taylor, University of Boston

'Don't order a selection at all if you can get the Complete Poems.' - Professor William Morgan, State University of Illinois

About the Author

JAMES GIBSON was formerly Principal Lecturer in English at Christ Church College, Canterbury.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss out 30 Jun 2002
At first glance this may seem a bit pricey compared to a selection but it's worth the money. Thomas Hardy was a prolific poet with a wide range of interests and a good imagination. This book runs to nearly 1,000 pages.
Before I bought this I owned a "Selected poems of Thomas Hardy". Selections are highly personal. The selected poems I bought did not contain my favourite Hardy poem: "Weathers". ('This is the weather the cuckoo likes / and so do I / when showers betumble the chestnut spikes / and nestlings fly...'). Having bought the complete poems I am discovering many new favourites.
Don't miss out as I did for ** (too many) years. Don't go for someone else's selection but choose your own favourites from the complete poems.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The hardback: wonderful contents - butt-ugly book! 30 April 2011
This is a review of the hardback version.

I have to say that the outside lets it down - at least as regards the copy delivered to me. It turns out to be one of those 'print on demand' editions and you do NOT get the nice rural scene shown on the right, above (you don't get a dustjacket, either). You get a nasty, geometric design in shades of grey with plain black lettering in a black box; there is no dustjacket. The thing looks like a science textbook and is really not appropriate to its contents. I assume this is Palgrave Macmillan's all-purpose cover for 'print on demands'.

Inside, it contains all the poems Hardy is known to have written and they are laid out in clear and reasonable-sized print. There is little in the way of extras - a short introduction by Gibson and some notes at the back, mainly giving info on and differences in different publications of the individual poems (so you have to look elsewhere for help with dialect words, for instance). It has the usual indices of titles and first lines. It also has a handful of illustrations Hardy made for earlier publications of his poems.

If I go to the expense of buying a hardback I don't think it's unreasonable to expect something reasonably attractive and appropriate in external appearance (else I'd buy a paperback) and I shall be more careful in future.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best... 27 Jun 2005
Thomas Hardy is one of the greatest poets Britian has ever produced. He produced lyric poetry of a standard that has never really been surpassed. TH always regarded himself primarily as a poet. He only wrote the (ever popular) novels as a way of making a living. Following the huge success of Tess and Jude, he was able to concentrate fully on poetry. The controversy that surrounded those two novels probably helped to push him away from fiction. I am greatful for this as, whilst I like the novels, I think he was much more satisfying as a poet.
This volume contains, as the title states, all of his poems (and he wrote a LOT of poetry). And the poems are consistently brilliant. It is a well edited volume, has a useful if short introduction and a map of TH's Wessex.
There are plenty of selected poems available, but with the Complete Poems available for just over fifteen quid, why bother with a mere selection?
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent editorial 1 Aug 2005
By A Customer
While studying Hardy's poetry some time ago I found James Gibson's editorial extremely interesting and helpful. I have since found he brings a knowledge and understanding of Hardy to every book he has edited which to me adds to the appeal of what I regard to be the most wonderful author of poetry and prose ever.
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